From the collection of the
San Francisco, California
HERE is just a glimpse, but an intriguing one, of some of the
things which may be possible in the postwar future.
Note the interesting feature of the prefabricated house de-
signed by Simon Breines. A sheet of water on the house's roof
helps keep it cool in the summertime.
Just below is the Aerocar, designed by William Stout for
Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation. For air trips, the
combined wings and outrigger can be attached and the Aero-
car leaves the highway for swift cross-country flights.
Upper right is Stout's Helicab. It will be just the thing, he
says, for city commuters to use between office and home.
The "prefab" house below, and the trains, trucks, buses and
automobiles further down, all will be more attractive and com-
fortable, and give better service at low cost because of war-
time advances in the use of light metals, plastics, plastic-
bonded plywood and glass.
Study carefully the apartment house of the future, designed
by Walter B. Sanders. The building would consist of two dis-
tinct elements: the structural frame, including floors and ceil-
ings, and the individual apartments of the tenants. Prefabri-
cate wall and partition units could be installed on order, with
the number and placement of windows, size of rooms and
closets left up to you.
Material for this frontispiece is used by courtesy of:
Revere Copper and Brass Incorporated; Consolidated Vultee
Corporation; U. S. Stoneware Co., producers of Reanite; Bohn
Aluminum & Brass Corporation, Bohnalite & Bohnolly Prod-
ucts; L. C. Chase & Co., makers of Chase Velmo upholstery.
BETTER LIVING IN THE
NORMAN V. CARLISLE
FRANK B. LATHAM
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
Copyright, 1944, by
NORMAN V. CARLISLE.
All rights reserved no part of this book may be
reproduced in any form without permission in writing
from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes
to quote brief passages in connection with a review
written for inclusion in magazine or newspaper.
A WARTIME BOOK
THB COMPLETE EDITION IS PRODUCED
IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE GOVERN.
KENT'S PECULATIONS FOR CONSERVING
P APEB AND OTHER ESSENTIAL M ATEH1AU.
SET UP BY BROWN BROTHERS LINOTYPERS
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
"MIRACLES AHEAD but 'when'? 1 '
That is the most baffling question that confronted the
authors when they undertook this venture into the troubled
realm of prophecy. In fact, we may as well confess that there
were times when we doubted the wisdom of a title containing
the word "miracle." We heard altogether too many dire
warnings "Don't get people's hopes up." "These things take
time." "Utopia can't be built in a day."
On the other hand, we felt safe in depending on the un-
equivocal assertions of such hard-headed businessmen as Edgar
M. Queeny, who did not hesitate to say, "The possibilities of
the future, now that industry has embraced science, are so
limitless that only one forecast can be made with certainty
that the most extravagant prophecy will fall short of potential
We had no intention of making this book an "extravagant
prophecy." We think it's a conservative one. But we just can't
say when. That is not dodging issues. We know that after
listening to the perfectly sound arguments of people who
have every good reason to know. For example, Walter Dorwin
Teague, the noted industrial designer, squares off against his
fellow industrial designer, Raymond Loewy, with completely
Says Teague: "It is my firm conviction, based on direct
knowledge, that as soon as production can be resumed after
victory, the public will be offered new and greatly improved
models in most, if not all lines of consumer goods. And, as
soon as retooling and testing can be accomplished, new
vi Authors' Foreword
products will appear which will make the fanciful predictions
that decorate our advertising pages today seem commonplace."
Says Loewy: "To the scrap heap of discredited but once
popular theories such as the Townsend Plan, Technocracy,
the Bolshevik menace, successful Nazi appeasement please
add another, the immediate Postwar Dream World. To be
honest and certainly the time is ripe for facing issues
squarely the wonderful new products will be a long time
coming, if they ever do."
To be perfectly frank, there is a controversy going on. It
is a heated controversy in which the authors feel something
like innocent by-standers. Essentially, it has been our purpose
to present a reporter's picture of what is happening today,
what is already on the drawing boards, what scientists and
industrialists think can be done to provide "better living in the
postwar world." So forgive us we are going to leave it to
the reader to decide when. On the other hand, we do not think
that some pretty remarkable things will be too long in coming.
We think that by the time you get around to cashing in those
war bonds you have been buying there will be some fascinat-
ing new ways to spend the money. We think that the dynam-
ics of American business drive it ahead, sometimes even faster
than the businessmen themselves expect.
We want especially to thank the many industrialists, scien-
tists, designers, engineers and sales managers who have given
so much of their time to pass on their views for "Miracles
NORMAN V. CARLISLE
FRANK B. LATHAM
New York City
January i, 1944
I TOMORROW'S WORLD i
War-production techniques have created the tools
and equipment necessary for the manufacture of
startlingly new articles for civilian use after the war
. . . Clues to the future: Extraordinary new metals
that will transform cars, trains, and ships . . . Elec-
tronic "watchmen" . . . Fabulous plastics . . . New
uses for paper, wood, and glass . . . World trans-
portation by air . . . Private flying . . . New agri-
cultural techniques . . . Population shifts.
II A CASTLE FOR EVERY MAN 1 2
The prefabricated house . . . The War Set the Pace
. . . Standardization? . . . The Circular House . . .
Buy Your Home Rent Your Land . . . Tradition
Takes a Back Seat . . . Trading in Your Old Rooms
. . . Apartments of Tomorrow . . . Design Your
Own Apartment . . . Problems Ahead.
III LITTLE MIRACLES 29
Appliances of tomorrow . . . Modern Lighting
Equipment . . ."Laundering" the Air . . . Smoke-
less Furnaces . . . Soundproofing . . . Proper
Acoustics . . . Radiant Heating . . . Built-in Furni-
ture . . . Mass-Produced Closets . . . Small Items
That Mean Comfort ... A Modern Bathroom
. . . Refrigerator Drawers . . . The Hamby
IV CARS OF THE 1960*8 42
Materials used in the manufacture of war planes will
be used in the automobiles of the future . . . New
Low Prices . . . Old Ideas Die Slowly ... En-
gines Move Back . . . New Metals for New Motors
. . . Renaissance of the Diesels . . . Jeeps for the
Farm . . . The Plastic Car . . . New Gasoline
. . . Future Traffic Solutions . . . The Radio
Traffic Cop . . . Radar for Driving Safety . . .
V YOUR FLYING FLIVVER 60
Development of private flying . . . Your First Plane
the Helicopter . . . How to Fly a Helicopter . . .
Sikorsky's First Helicopter . . . War Duties of the
Helicopter . . . Postwar Tasks of the Helicopter
. . . The De Bothezat Helicopter . . . The HeHcab
. . . The Autogiro . . . The Convertaplane . . .
New Light Planes . . . Stout's Sky Car . . . Simpli-
fied Flying Techniques . . . Safety at Night.
VI GLOBAL TRANSPORTATION 76
You will visit foreign lands . . . New Shipping
Centers . . . $10,000,000 Seadromes . . . Passenger
Stratoliners . . . Air Cargo . . . The Army's Air
Transport Command . . .The Naval Air Transport
Service . . . Speedier Loading Techniques . .
Glider "Freight Trains". . . The Rocket Motor
. . . Radio Aids . . . The Finest Airways System
on Earth . . . Solutions for Postwar Unemploy-
ment . . . Other Postwar Issues.
VII BY LAND AND SEA 101
The truth about air cargo . . . "The Battle of Trans-
portation". . . Trucks and Busses Hold Their Own
. . . Shipbuilding Magic . . . The Diesels Step
Ahead . . . Airplane and Ship Competition.
VIII YOUR NEW SERVANTS: THE ELECTRONIC
The open door to a miracle world . . . Edison Dis-
covered the Secret . . . Radar . . . Radio-Fre-
quency Heating . . . X-Raying Steel . . . The
Photoelectric Tube . . . Testing the Ripeness of a
Melon . . . Checking Moving Objects . . . New
IX NEW TELEVISION AND RADIO SERVICES 1 3 2
How long will television be "just around the cor-
ner"? . . . Television Service in England . . . Spy-
ing upon the Enemy via Television . . . Television
Prospects in America . . . The Actor Comes into
His Own . . . The Fighting Man's "Nerve Center"
. . . Indestructible Radios for the Armed Forces
. . . Radio Safety Devices ... A Word about Fre-
quencies . . . Sending Pictures by Radio.
X CHEMISTRY MAGIC 149
The incredible plastics . . . Precious Synthetic Rub-
ber . . . How Synthetic Rubber Is Made . . . Bless
John Barleycorn . . ."Bathtub" Rubber . . . Syn-
thetic Rubber Is Here to Stay . . . Untapped Re-
sources in Natural Rubber . . . An Exploit of the
Century . . . Fabulous New Wealth . . .The Great
Compounds. . .The Super-super By-Product: Coal
Tar ... A Ton of Coal ... OH, the Chemist's
Proxy for Coal . . . The Plastics . . . The Hard
Resilient Plastics . . . Plastics from the Ocean . . .
Replacing Light Metals . . . Plastic Bearings . . .
Achieving the Impossible . . . Winning Chemical
Leadership from Germany . . . Breaking the Japa-
nese Camphor Monopoly . . . Creating New
Wealth in Agriculture . . . Synthetic Textiles . . .
XI METALS THAT BUILD NEW WORLDS 172
Manufacture of war planes stimulated development
of new metals . . . The Story of Aluminum . . .
The Ocean as a Treasure Chest . . . One Pound of
Magnesium . . ."Tailor-Made" Steel . . . Precious
Common Metals . . . Uncommon Metals . . .
Beryllium the Magic Metal . . ."Powder Metal-
XII WOOD, PAPER, AND GLASS TRANSFORMED 185
New treatments of paper . . . Nazi Germany's Re-
liance on Wood . . . American Advances in Wood
Chemistry . . . Warm Clothes from the Bark of
Trees . . . New Treatments for New Tensile
Strengths . . . Forest Conservation . . . Glass Mir-
acles . . . New Techniques in Glassmaking.
XIII FORTUNES IN AGRICULTURE 199
Solutions for postwar surpluses . . . New Uses for
Skimmed Milk . . . The Soybean . . . The Castor
Bean a New Treasure . . . Flax Straw for Ciga-
rette Paper . . . Our Own Herbs and Drugs . . .
Cotton By-Products . . . Cottonleather . . . Cotton
Fire Hose . . . Cotton Roads . . . Corn for Photo-
graphic Films . . . Oat Hulls in the Synthetic-Rub-
ber Field . . . By-Products of Wood . . . No Soap
Shortage Ahead . . . Soil Building . . . Soil-less
Agriculture . . . Farming in the Desert . . .
Growth-Promoting Techniques . . . Making the
Farm More Livable.
XIV FOOD FOR BUOYANT HEALTH 216
Food shortage an old story in America . . . Urgent
Need of Food Education . . . Uninformed Buying
. . . Wasted Minerals . . . Napoleon Counted on
Food . . . Protein Shortages the Most Deadly . . .
Dehydrated Foods to the Fore . . . The Mechanical
XV MEDICINE LOOKS AHEAD 228
First-aid procedures at the front . . . New Medical
Kit . . .The Hospital Corps at the Front . . . Blood
Plasma . . . Mobile X-Ray Unit . . . The "Closed
Treatment" for Fractures . . . The Base Hospital
. . . Mobile Bacteriological Laboratory . . . The
Navy's Hospital Ships . . .The Magical Sulf a Drugs
. . . Penicillin Germ Destroyer . . . Gramicidin
New Microbe Killer . . . Streptothricin An-
other Microbe Killer . . . Quinine Substitutes
"Health Bomb" for Mosquitoes . . . Waging War
on Epidemic Diseases . . . The Amino Acids Pro-
mote Health and Beauty . . . Nature's Most Power-
ful Vitamin ... A Clue to Cancer . . . Research
Work on the Common Cold . . . Blood Plasma for
Civilian Use . . . Transplanting Vital Organs . . .
A Cure for Deafness . . . Treatment for Hyper-
tension . . . Regional Anesthesia . . . Electronic
Aids . . . Onion "Broadcasts" . . . Old- Age Treat-
ments . . . Air-Age Problems.
XVI MORE MIRACLES AHEAD 261
Using the atomic energy in a lump of coal to run a
factory for a week . . . The Amazing Cyclotron
. . . Harnessing the Sun's Rays . . . Electricity as
Cheap as Water . . . Agricultural Yields Tripled
. . . Ships without Crews . . . Edible "Cans" . . .
The Vortex Gun.
IT is ONE OF THE major ironies of human history that modern
war has contributed so much to material progress. Barbaric
and wasteful as the two wars of this century have been, each
has brought some compensating gains that may be said to
make up in some measure for the staggering loss in blood and
treasure. The pressing need for the production of the machines
of war has launched new industries, stimulated new skills,
created new products and ways of producing them. Added
together they present a startling picture of postwar possibili-
ties. It is perhaps true that the foreshadowed changes would
have come anyway, but the time element has been telescoped.
Science and industry have proved their amazing ability to
work together in the interests of destruction. Their partner-
ship, strong before the war, has become stronger still. And
now both have new tools to work with. Anyone with a
knowledge of these tools can have no doubt that tremendous
changes in American living lie directly ahead.
Tremendous changes in the American scene lie directly
ahead. Most of us have realized that the war would bring
new developments that this country could not take an active
part in the world conflict and remain the same. We know
that the first World War brought about changes in this
country that were more revolutionary and far-reaching than
all the events of the previous fifty years. We are aware that
this war is sweeping away many familiar things and usher-
ing in new ones. But few of us guess the extent and scope of
the changes that loom before us now.
2 Miracles Ahead!
There is a profound difference not only between the nature
of the war that we entered in 1917 and that which we entered
in the 1940*8, but between the situation that confronted the
United States in 1917 and that which we faced during the
1940*5. These differences mean far more drastic changes dur-
ing the postwar era of World War II than was the case after
the last conflict.
In 1917 we entered the war fresh, with a long period of
peace and prosperity behind us and with an abundance of
natural resources and man power available. Within a remark-
ably short period of time our industrial technicians found
ways and means of producing the immense quantities of war
materiel required. They had the advantage of an abundance
of everything needed for the task. Time was more precious
than materials and they were free to squander prodigious
quantities of raw materials in various trial-and-error proce-
dures that saved time. Incidentally, the war fronts to be sup-
plied were confined to a fairly small area of one continent!
In the 1940*5 we entered a titanic struggle on a world- wide
basis after an engulfing depression that had lasted nearly a
decade and that had weakened and dispersed our man power;
depleted our reserves of tools, machines, and raw supplies;
disrupted our economy. Our industrial technicians faced a
superhuman task. There was a desperate shortage of plant and
factory space, machines, equipment, and materials available
as compared with the amount needed. There was an even
more critical shortage of skilled workmen.
New inventions, discoveries, and procedures that had been
introduced years earlier, and that would have greatly expe-
dited the mass-production techniques needed, had been set
aside during the depression years. Producers had been unable
to embark on new ventures in the face of an uncertain mar-
ket. Discouraged about this situation, our leading designers,
engineers, chemists, and technicians had pigeonholed new
Tomorrows World 3
ideas; and blueprints and chemical formulas of all kinds were
allowed to gather dust in office files for years. Technological
advances had been brought almost to a standstill as compared
with the progress made in normal times.
The dramatic and important difference between this situa-
tion and that of 1917 was the fact that, in 1940, time, men,
and materials were all equally precious. In this fact lies the
clue to the amazing peacetime developments on the horizon.
Shortcuts of a breath-taking variety were in order. New tech-
niques in mass production on a vaster scale than anyone had
hitherto believed possible were essential. Every possible device
for saving man hours, especially of skilled workmen, had
become imperative. There was no margin for waste. There
was no real margin of safety for error and everyone knew
that errors would be made. Yet many dangerous gambles had
to be taken.
For example, blueprints for new tools and machines, chem-
ical formulas on paper, and drafts of new processes utilizing
waste materials that have been gathering dust in the files for
years are of limited value. Performance records are urgently
necessary. But time did not permit the exhaustive investiga-
tion and checking ordinarily undertaken. In many cases tech-
nicians were obliged to go ahead with production plans with-
out the benefit of essential data, relying on routine tests and
their previous experience with similar tools and procedures.
The risk was staggering. During this period- technicians lived
with their hearts in their throats. Every scrap of material had
to be made to go further than it had ever gone before. Then
came the crisis in raw materials. In some cases engineers called
upon the industrial chemists actually to create new materials
to take the place of raw supplies.
As Theodore G. Joslin, Director of Public Relations for
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, revealed, "Our
laboratories were scoured for new things. The scarcity of
4 Miracles Ahead!
conventional materials led producers to turn to anything
promising in the way of substitutes."
Procedures that no one in his right mind would have even
contemplated in peacetime were grimly tackled and made to
work. Radically new materials were employed for uses that
seemed, at first thought, utterly preposterous, as in the case
of plastics for bearings and for cartridge cases. Traditional
methods of assembly were swept aside for new ones. In some
plants the break with the past was so complete that anyone
visiting them in 1940 and then again in 1942 would imagine
that there had been a lapse of twenty years instead of two
between the visits.
The roster of men who gave their last ounce of energy, wit,
and ingenuity to the task of making us ready for war is a long
one. It includes eminent scientists, engineers, and designers;
many brilliant youngsters who sprang out of nowhere during
the emergency and whose names are as yet unknown to us;
and also a large number of familiar prosaic business personali-
ties with whom we do not ordinarily associate heroic exploits.
Nevertheless this group of men comprises the list of front-
line heroes without whom the war could not have been prose-
cuted though the risks they assumed involved too many
sleepless nights and days and too many cups of black coffee
rather than bullets and shrapnel. The day-and-night thinking
and planning that went on in the designing rooms and labo-
ratories during this zero hour made possible the war-produc-
tion miracles we are witnessing today.
New Resources for Peacetime
The fantastic achievements of industry during the past
thirty months mean significant developments in the postwar
era. As strange as it may seem, considering the appalling drain
on our resources that war always entails, we will emerge
Tomorrow's World 5
from this war with new resources of greater potential value
than any we possessed previously. We have learned how to
tap the ocean for the minerals needed for the manufacture of
cheap, powerful lightweight metals superior to any made
before the war, thereby making the ocean a new treasure
chest. The science of electronics has been advanced to a point
where its value is now comparable to the acquisition of one
hundred million ne*w skilled workmen. We have developed
plastics and new processes for treating wood, paper, and
glass that are almost equal in value to the discovery of new
These facts alone mean a great abundance of beautiful,
durable articles for everyday use at a fraction of the cost of
prewar merchandise. But there are many many more new
inventions and processes of almost equal importance now
being employed for war production (a large number of which
cannot be revealed at this time for obvious military reasons)
that will later mean greater comfort and convenience than
we have ever dreamed possible.
Way up at the head of the list of miraculous items that we
may expect to see and use in the postwar world are passenger
cars that can be transformed into airplanes or helicopters,
electronic "watchmen" that can test the ripeness of a melon
or count the number of people in a room and turn off the
lights when the last one has departed, glider "freight trains"
hitched to a "locomotive" plane carrying cargo overhead.
We will enjoy the benefits of new processes that can now
transform the bark of trees into warm wool cloth, paper into
weatherproof panels for the walls of houses, glass so resilient
that it can support the weight of an elephant, electric light
that will also destroy bacteria, and even a process that will
transform sawdust into raw sugar to name a few of the
things to come.
The mass-production techniques now being employed for
6 Miracles Ahead!
gargantuan quantities of war materiel will later be used to
turn out, by the thousands, new cars that are lighter and
swifter than any we have seen to date and that will be a third
lower in price than the cheapest prewar car; prefabricated
homes equipped with modern lighting, plumbing, and air-
conditioning units (homes fit for kings) ; helicopters and small
easy-to-maneuver planes for civilian use to be sold at the price
of a good car; new tools, appliances, and machines of every
type and description.
The Revolution in Transportation
It is difficult for most people at this time to grasp the sig-
nificance of the new metals that have been developed for air-
plane manufacture. These powerful lightweight metals will
do as much to transform the appearance of tomorrow's world
as will any other thing. They will take the place of many
heavy, cumbersome, unwieldy metals previously used for
buildings and conveyances. We will have new cars, trucks,
busses, trains, and ships made with these metals that will be
thousands of pounds lighter in weight, far cheaper to buy and
also to operate. All transportation in the future will be swifter,
quieter, safer, and less costly.
But perhaps the most striking innovation, which will make
all of us peer heavenward more often, will be the introduc-
tion of helicopters for a variety of uses. A number of applica-
tions have already been filed with the CAB for helicopter
services one company requesting "Helicopter service to
carry air mail and express to and from the rooftops of over
four hundred post offices and railroad stations in the six New
England States and New York."
We can also anticipate helicopter service to and from large
cities and their outlying suburbs and the use of many pri-
vately owned helicopters for family week-end trips and for
Tomorrow's World 7
summer commuting to and from the "place in the country."
Before the end of this decade it is more than likely that as
Igor I. Sikorsky, the designer of the helicopter bearing his
name, believes there will be more than one million helicop-
ters in everyday use in the United States. They are the "fliv-
vers" of tomorrow.
The Change in Population Centers
Every improvement in transportation in the past has had
profound effects upon the development of cities in this
country. The first cities were located at navigable harbors.
The steamboat made possible the growth of cities inland
along navigable rivers. The railroads opened the West, and
cities made their appearance on vacant prairies, up in the
mountain passes, and in the distant valleys of the South, West
and the North. The air transportation of tomorrow means
new changes. The trend toward decentralization that has
already commenced will be sharply accelerated by the cheap
air routes of the postwar era. There will be many more all-
year-round country homes used by city people who will com-
mute to work by air. New summer resorts will make their
appearance in Alaska and the upland regions of South Amer-
ica. Vacationing on other continents, however, is certain to
become a general practice among Americans in the future.
The large air-line companies are already working on plans for
three-cent-a-mile global air service.
New Business Opportunities
All of these changes will create the need of many new
agencies, services, and supply sources. Every airfield along a
regular transportation route will become the center for new
stores, shops, and office buildings that will be erected close
8 Miracles Ahead!
by; for the railroads will carry more and more freight and
fewer passengers, a prospect, incidentally, that does not
wholly displease them. There is a far greater profit in freight
service than in passenger service. The more planes there are
in operation, the more freight the railroads will carry; for
the manufacture and operation of planes mean more trans-
portation of oil, coal, ore, steel, machinery of all kinds.
The manufacture of thousands of prefabricated houses, new
cars, helicopters, planes, and household appliances will obvi-
ously call for a vast army of salesmen, brokers, agents, and
promoters nearly five times as many as were needed during
the nineteen-twenties. Servicemen by the thousands will be
needed for repair and maintenance work on these homes, cars,
and aircraft. The need for thousands of small businesses will
automatically appear as the new patterns of living become
Another slant on postwar business worth keeping in mind
is the fact that for more than a decade before we entered the
world conflict we went through the most critical period of
underconsumption (compared with our productive capacity)
in our history. By 1939 there were miles upon miles of build-
ing surfaces in need of paint and repair from coast to coast,
miles upon miles of plumbing and plumbing equipment hardly
fit for use and, in many cases, a menace to community health.
There were millions of homes in which electrical appliances,
furniture, draperies, and fixtures had become worn, shabby,
or broken and in need of replacement. Before these needs
could be supplied, we entered the war and the curtailment of
goods for consumer use began. To sum up the undercon-
sumption of the necessities has gone on in this country for
nearly fifteen years! Meanwhile millions of Americans have
been earning higher wages and salaries than ever before.
Barring inflation or some unforeseen eventuality, we have
reason to expect a boom of greater proportions than anything
Tomorrows World 9
we have known before and, with it, the introduction of hun-
dreds of new products along the lines already suggested and
many others too. Giant strides in agriculture are being ush-
ered in with the stimulus of the serious food shortages. Every
large food manufacturer has new foods and new food prod-
ucts to introduce to the public at the close of the war. Many
of these products were developed for use by the armed forces
and offer new taste thrills as well as high nutritive values.
Others came about through laboratory research undertaken
during the food crisis.
The textile field has likewise benefited by the stimulus of
wartime exigencies. We shall see a great variety of beautiful
new fabrics with finer wearing qualities at lower prices as
soon as the resumption of the manufacture of consumer goods
is permissible on a peacetime basis. Research carried out by
manufacturers and by government technicians in order to
find ways and means of supplying the armed forces with a
great number of durable fabrics suitable for different climates,
and for use under varying conditions, resulted in new tech-
niques and processes whereby magnificent fabrics can be pro-
duced for a fraction of their former cost.
A New Era of Individualism
While discussions on the pros and cons of collectivism and
individualism have been under way during recent years, our
engineers and inventors have been busy with blueprints for
new machines and devices more certain to change the course
of our destiny than all of the conversations of the past one
hundred years. Nearly every large aircraft company in the
United States has blueprints on hand for giant air liners, some
of them three-decker types with promenade decks, lounge
and dining rooms, and accommodations for about two hun-
dred people planes for commuter service to and from New
io Miracles Ahead!
York and London, New York and Brazil, New York and
Buenos Aires, and other points of the globe. Clearly a new
low-priced air-transportation era will be ushered in with the
end of the war.
Where we once faced the wilderness of our West with
horses and covered wagons, intent upon building a new civili-
zation, we now face our ocean boundaries and look upon
continents only hours away that need our skills, production
techniques, and research procedures for the building of a
sounder, better civilization. Unless we find ways of raising
the standard of living for the populations of other countries,
we cannot hope to maintain our own standards for long. This
immense undertaking lies not in the distant future but in the
very near future. The commuter air service between conti-
nents is one means of making this feasible. Our businessmen,
craftsmen, and technicians will be able to travel to and from
South America, Africa, Australia, and the Far East in a mat-
ter of hours, not weeks or months. Where opportunities for
establishing new businesses in foreign lands existed in the past
only for large corporations, low-cost air service will make it
possible for the enterprising individual to launch new services
and agencies in other countries too.
The world we knew yesterday has already slipped around
the corner and a new one beckons. Our frontiers, in the old
geographical sense, have vanished. We face a new world in
which the reward for individual ingenuity, wit, and initiative
will be higher than it has ever been before. It will be a world
that will call for daring and imagination. We will be con-
fronted by problems with which we have had little or no
previous experience, and by opportunities so new and strange
that they will challenge every ounce of resourcefulness we
can muster. A certain readiness to accept new ideas and to
adjust to new situations will be demanded of all of us.
The story of the new inventions, discoveries, and processes
Tomorrows World n
revealed in the following chapters of this book suggests the
scope of the changes before us. In each innovation there are
a score of business opportunities. It is possible that the com-
mercial development of these innovations may bring even
greater changes than anyone can visualize at this time.
A CASTLE FOR EVERY MAN
LET us SAY that the year is 194-. You have decided that you
need a new home. You will be able to order it from your
local department store or from an agent in your town who
sells cars, "family-size" airplanes, helicopters, and houses.
You will make a down payment on the house and arrange to
pay the balance in installments. Since you have already rented
a lot, you will now order a local contractor to build the
cement piers that will be required for the foundation of your
new home. This done, you will set the date for the delivery
of your house and at the same time you will order the mov-
ing men to deliver your furniture.
When the day comes, your new dwelling will arrive in a
large truck. Six men have been sent along to erect your house.
They will haul the floor, wall, and ceiling panels from the
truck. Meanwhile a crane will lift the utility unit from the
truck and place it on the foundation. This unit is the "heart"
of your house. It consists of a section of the bathroom and
kitchen floors, plus the upright wall dividing the two rooms,
and all the bathroom and kitchen equipment. The copper
pipes for water and drains are inside the panels of the utility
units, ready to be connected with the utility lines from the
When the "heart" of the house is in place, the other sec-
tions are fitted together around it. They fit snugly and are
airtight. Next come the room panels and the outside wall pan-
els which form the frame of the house. Then the roof and
ceiling panels are lifted into position and fastened down.
A Castle for Every Man 13
While you are admiring the color schemes of each room, the
moving van will arrive with your furniture. Your house is
ready. By nightfall you will be seated at the dinner table in
your dining room enjoying your first meal in your new
No hammering of nails or sawing of lumber went on while
your house was being erected. There were no grunts or
groans from the workmen as they lifted the hurricane-proof
but light panels into place. Nor did the plasterers, painters,
or paper hangers put in an appearance. The panels of your
new home have a resilient finish, in the tones you prefer, that
will resist sunlight, rain, boiling water, and any hard knocks
the children or moving men may deliver. All that you will
need to keep this finish looking like new is a dustcloth.
When you enter a bedroom and close the door, you will
find that the noise from the living room stays outside. Spa-
cious closets (already fitted with shelves, chests, and drawers)
which form partitions between the rooms will make the house
almost soundproof. The wall panels are also packed with an
insulating material that swallows up sound.
The War Set the Pace
Does this story seem fantastic? A good many sound busi-
nessmen think it is not, although there is undeniably consider-
able controversy as to just how soon such a picture will be
More than fifty companies are now engaged in the manu-
facture of prefabricated houses. Some of these houses are
being shipped to the war fronts to be used for hospital units,
executive quarters, and barracks. Some are being rushed to
our own crowded industrial centers where the housing short-
age for war workers grows daily more acute. Later, at the
close of the war, a large percentage will be sent abroad and
14 Miracles Ahead!
used in the devastated areas of Europe, Russia, and the Far
East. At this time the prefabricated house will become avail-
able to private individuals too.
You will get the benefits of this manufacturing experience,
these opportunities for checking and testing the new type of
dwelling, and you will also get the use of the marvelous new
lightweight, resilient, powerful materials, developed for build-
ing planes, tanks, and battleships, that will later be adapted to
peacetime uses. Your new home will be as strong as the ancient
castle that was built with walls four feet thick! Most impor-
tant, it will be planned and designed by America's best engi-
As Bror Dahlberg, president of the Celotex Corporation,
revealed, "We have learned more about building houses in
the past two years or so than we learned in the preceding two
decades. We have been forced to develop new materials and
adopt new methods of construction because accustomed ma-
terials have been impossible to get and the old methods of
construction were too slow."
As a result of the "know how" gained in war production,
many newcomers will enter the prefabricated-housing field
when the war ends. Certain auto companies already are in the
household-equipment field. Chrysler makes Air-Temp air-
conditioning units. General Motors produces Frigidaires.
Nash turns out Kelvinator products. The aviation industry's
experience in the manufacture of panels for airplanes should
permit it to step easily into prefabricated-housing manufac-
ture. Shipyards also have the equipment and the trained men
needed to handle machine-made houses. They might build
houses in sections as the TVA engineers are doing. The TVA
house is sliced into four three-ton sections. Each section is a
complete vertical slice of the house. Everything is in place
and ready to function when the house is put together. Tracks
are laid on the foundation and pulley wheels under each sec-
A Castle for Every Man 15
tion expedite the assembling. When the sections are properly
lined up, tie rods are bolted together and the house is
Walter Dorwin Teague, industrial designer and architect,
says, "We have only to apply to home-building the same
techniques of design, manufacture and selling that have given
us a motor car for every four people in the land. Long expe-
rience with many of the largest mass-production industries
has enabled me to design a house especially adapted to as-
sembly-line methods of manufacture. The result is a house of
charm and comfort which can surround you with conven-
iences amounting to luxury."
"Ah, but how about the cost of this modern home?" you
Mr. Teague's answer is, "When a big manufacturer gets
into mass-production, the cost of this house to you, delivered
and erected on your prepared site, will be somewhere between
$1,000 and $2,000."
Yes, the engineers and architects know how much you dis-
like standardization and especially in connection with homes.
They have worked out solutions for this dilemma too. The
Norman Bel Geddes house, for example, has twenty-seven
units. Each of these can be switched around like a set of
building blocks, to form eleven different types of homes. If
your lot has one outlook or exposure that is preferable to
others, your house can be assembled as a long building with
the important rooms and windows facing in that direction.
Identical houses on adjacent lots will look entirely different
if turned in other directions or assembled in other ways. Pre-
fabricated houses have such novel features as movable walls
that open a side of the house to the garden and that change
1 6 Miracles Ahead!
the size and shape of the rooms to provide extra space or tem-
porary sleeping quarters for an overnight guest. As Mr.
Teague prophesies, "Your home of the future will probably
look far less like your neighbor's than the one you live in
The Circular House
Henry Kaiser, the West-coast shipbuilder who broke all
records by using prefabricated parts and assembly-line meth-
ods in his shipyards, has announced his intention to enter the
prefabricated-housing industry when the war is over. Kaiser
has retained the services of R. Buckminster Fuller, who has
designed probably the most startling home of the future.
Here is Fuller's description of this home:
"Suppose you have bought or rented a building lot and
have ordered one of these homes. The next morning a truck
arrives and workmen begin unloading a lot of strange metal
sheets and parts. Many of them look like giant flower petals.
Others are large curved panels of corrugated metal. You no-
tice flooring sections, bathroom and kitchen appliances, and a
very small heating plant. And you see a structural steel con-
trivance that looks like a tall mast. It is, and it is used to sup-
port the house while it is being erected. For this house is built
from the top down, and laying the foundation is one of the
last things to be done!
"The mast is placed at the exact center of your house-to-
be, and is anchored with guy wires so that it is firm as a rock.
This takes only a few minutes. On the ground surrounding
the mast, the petal-shaped metal sections are bolted together
to form a round, domed roof with a hole in the center through
which the mast projects. The completed roof is hoisted up
the mast a few feet by a one-man winch, and curved wall
panels are bolted on so that they hang from the roof. This
A Castle for Every Man 17
process is repeated until the wall reaches its full height of
nearly eight feet.
"Then the foundation is laid a circle of bricks flat on the
ground right under the circular wall. The house is now low-
ered so that the wall rests on the bricks, and the mast is then
removed. A water- and bug-tight sectional steel floor is bolted
to the lower rim of the wall, and all that remains is to install
the sections of finished flooring, the lining, interior equip-
ment, appliances and fixtures. The entire operation, from
placing the mast to unloading your furniture from the moving
van, takes only a few hours."
The steel sections of this house are enormously strong but
very light. The entire house weighs little more than two tons
less than twice as much as your automobile. The house is
round and there are two of these sections right against each
other, a large and a small one. But Fuller says you'd get used
to this. When you are in the spacious living room, he explains,
you are hardly aware that it is round. A regular studio bed
fits snugly against the wall. This is because the house is twenty
feet in diameter, and a curve so large seems hardly to curve
at all when you get close to it.
Buy Your Home Rent Your Land
One of the developments certain to materialize with wide-
spread use of prefabricated houses is the practice of renting
land and moving the home from site to site according to the
needs of the family. When the children are of school age the
family would live in a district near a good school, paying a
somewhat higher rent for their land in order to obtain the best
school privileges. Later, when the children go off to college,
the house could be moved to an area where the rent was
lower. Renting land has been the custom for many years in
1 8 Miracles Ahead!
"Why be tied to one place when your job or jobs may take
you to different parts of the country?" asks architect Cass
Gilbert, Jr. "Why own a lot and house you don't live in, and
live in a house you don't own? Why not own a home you like
that is different from your neighbor's, and rent the lot at the
land rent only? In this way, you could buy the house on a
credit-rent plan, rent the lot, own your home and move it
to your job."
Gilbert's answer is the Plank Panel house. Here is how it
"Random width planks of dry, suitable lumber two inches
thick and eight, ten or twelve feet long are run through ma-
chines that double tongue and groove the edges and rout out
the ends. By modern methods of assembly, with modern glues,
these planks are made into strong, solid panels four feet wide
and eight, ten or twelve feet long. Each panel represents a
four-foot width of wall or a four-foot width of floor. They
are the 'building blocks' out of which the house is constructed.
"Provision is made within the body of each panel for inter-
nal metal rods to run horizontally through the wall at top
and bottom, and also vertically at regular intervals. The rods
pull all members together roof, walls and floor as tightly
as bolts can hold wood. Window and door panels are manu-
factured the same way, are self-contained, and are an equally
strong part of the structure.
"This then becomes a wall two inches thick that has been
solidly pulled together by steel rods to steel corner members.
These panels are so weather-tight that five of them could be
bolted together by the same method to form a water tank.
For each plank is not only double tongued and grooved, but
is glued tightly to its neighbor with modern, waterproof glue.
"With this house you can have exactly the style and appear-
ance you wish. You also get a home which you can add to.
Undo the corner bolts, add extension rods and a few panels,
A Castle for Every Man 19
and you have an extra bedroom. If you have an unmarried
son or daughter, build their rooms with extension rods so
that when they marry they can take their rooms with them.
"The Plank Panels can be produced by any well equipped
lumber mill. Under normal conditions the materials necessary
are available locally in every community. And local workmen
can erect the house according to a design that fits your needs,
your taste, and your pocketbook."
Tradition Takes a Back Seat
For a great many generations it has been customary for a
man to choose a house in which to live that resembled some
style of house used extensively in some earlier period. He
might ask the architect to modify the interior according to his
personal needs and wishes. But these changes were usually
minor ones. The whole process of making this selection of a
home was based upon the assumption that the exterior must
conform to a certain style and if any comfort at all were
feasible on the inside, why, that was fine, but if not, the man
and his family would adjust themselves to the house as grace-
fully as possible.
"Except for moving the bathroom inside, improving kitchen
equipment and heating and lighting systems, our houses are
much the same as they were hundreds of years ago," declared
George Fred Keck, a disciple of the school of modern Ameri-
can architecture founded fifty years ago in Chicago by Louis
Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.
"Our houses have little checkerboards of glass for windows,
because our forefathers couldn't buy a big piece of glass. Even
though we now can have a whole wall of glass we don't be-
cause architects and builders have preferred to copy the old
rather than create the new.
"Automobile makers," he points out, "weren't satisfied to
20 Miracles Ahead!
go along copying the wagon. They produced an entirely new
type vehicle. Why shouldn't we architects do the same in-
stead of copying French chateaux, Spanish villas or ante-
Mr. Keck believes that houses should be designed to afford
a maximum of comfort and convenience. In planning his
houses he uses the sun's rays to aid in heating them. Thus the
south wall of the house is made chiefly of glass. A wide flat
roof overhangs the edge of the building to shade the glass
"The object here," he explains, "is to shut out the intensely
hot summer sun, as with an awning; and when the sun is low
on the horizon in the winter, to admit the winter sun. In this
manner one takes advantage of the sun in the wintertime when
it is desirable to have the sun heat, and controls the hot sum-
mer sun. Such an arrangement will help heat the house in
winter and keep it cooler in summer, and will make all
the rooms in the house very pleasant places to be at any
This house is basementless with panel floor heat, which
means that the floor is a moderately warm radiator which
heats the house. Panel floor heat keeps the feet warm, and
children rolling and playing on the floor will not be cold. In
the coldest weather the floor can be kept at 80 to 90 degrees
Fahrenheit and can provide comfortable room temperature.
The northern side of the house is almost a solid wall to
provide utmost insulation against the wind and cold of win-
ter. The projecting eave lines of the roof prevent blowing
rains from entering any openings in the house.
The roof is flat, and strong enough to carry a thin sheet of
water for summer cooling. The sun's rays cool the house by
evaporation, just as they cool a swimmer in a wet bathing
suit. This idea is an application of one used by the ancient
A Castle for Every Man 21
Egyptians. They covered their roofs with a layer of wool and
had slaves douse them with water in the hot sunshine.
Before designing any home, Keck carefully studies the
particular requirements and habits of the occupants. A Mis-
souri college professor liked to give large teas. Yet the family
itself was small and normally required no large living room.
Keck arranged the living, dining, and recreation rooms, all of
modest size, in such a way that through the use of sliding
walls the three rooms could be converted into one immense
Keck believes that the rooms of a house should be arranged
so that it can grow and adapt itself to the family's changing
needs. The infants' nursery grows into the playroom of the
grade-school boy and girl; then into the recreation room of
the high-school youth; then into the private apartment of
the young married couple, who may lack the finances to sup-
port a separate home; and finally into the suite for Grandpa
and Grandma when the son and his bride have begun to rear
a family and need more of the house.
"This sort of home," Keck says, "would preserve the dis-
tinct family units. It takes into consideration the changes that
develop in a family through a lifetime. It combines structural
permanence with perfect adaptability."
Trading in Your Old Rooms
Paul Nelson, an architect who has won fame throughout
Europe and America, believes a new and more flexible design
is needed for the prefabricated house. He envisions a house
made up of two distinct elements an exterior shell forming
an enclosed space, and the prefabricated unit rooms which are
grouped independently within.
"There would be rooms adapted to the needs of cooking,
22 Miracles Ahead!
sleeping, washing and leisure. There could be rooms for hob-
bies, and special acoustical rooms for radio and television,"
"The same evolution would surely occur with mass-pro-
duced rooms that occurred with the automobile. There would
be the possibility of buying and selling second-hand rooms.
This would bring these superior living units within the reach
of even the lowest income groups.
"Similar rooms, called 'roomettes/ are now made for Pull-
man cars, their major elements stamped out by machine and
quickly assembled into complete units. It is only a short step
from this to the mass production of rooms for your own
"A truck could back up to your house and a complete
sleeping room, bathing room, cooking room or eating room,
for example, could be unloaded and set in place. The process
would be almost as simple as plugging in the flexible copper
connections of your present refrigerator or washing machine.
With the most essential rooms installed, your home would be
ready for living. Then you could plan for additional rooms to
add extra pleasure and convenience to life. At your photo-
graphic dealer's you could select a dark room. You could find
a special music room at your department or music store. If
additional nursery or sleeping space were needed, the required
rooms could be quickly installed. If the family became smaller,
rooms no longer necessary could be sold, or 'traded in' on
rooms for hobbies or whatever you might wish.
"By creating the home in contrast to the house, by provid-
ing greater living convenience, comfort and enjoyment, by
freeing the individual for richer cultural development, and
by doing these things in a way which brings them down
within reach of millions this conception could provide bet-
ter living for the present generation."
A Castle for Every Man 23
The Apartments of Tomorrow
What about the more than 13 per cent of American fami-
lies (about 4,000,000 out of 30,000,000) who live in apart-
ments and may continue to do so? Architects and designers
have not forgotten them. Apartments of tomorrow will pro-
vide more comfort and living space than ever before.
Elisabeth Coit, who is one of the few woman members of
the American Institute of Architects, spent two years study-
ing the good and bad in housing, and talking to tenants in
low-cost apartments. She has given fellow architects a lot of
excellent firsthand information on apartments from the ten-
She pointed out that the trend in apartments is toward
larger rooms. One survey showed that apartments with an
average room area of 168 square feet proved very satisfactory,
while one with an average of 113 square feet was hard to
"This to me," she said, "is a healthy development. I always
urge clients to think of rooms not as boxes but as spaces for
certain uses. A large space is easier to adapt to several pur-
poses than a tiny one.
"But let's see," she added, "how average families use their
homes, and whether the apartments are designed with such
use in view. Families in small quarters, for example, need
living rooms for callers, meals, quiet relaxation or emergency
bedrooms. Yet most living rooms are chiefly runways for en-
trance to other rooms. They afford neither quiet nor privacy.
"A living room should be planned so you can shut it off
from other rooms when you want to. It should have a closet;
and be separated from the kitchen. In fact, the living room
might lend some space to the bedrooms. Rooms designed only
for sleeping are a waste, for they are used only a few hours."
24 Miracles Ahead!
Miss Coit would rename bedrooms "parents' room" and
"children's room," and give them twenty-four hour useful-
ness. If Mother sews, there would be room for a machine.
Boys need a place for gadgets. And the girl deserves room for
a dressing table, and a desk and comfortable chair. The bed-
rooms could have some shelves and a few trays built into clos-
ets. This would eliminate the dressers, and you'd have more
space and less furniture to dust under. Furthermore, built-in
bunks are excellent for a boys' or a girls' room.
Design Your Oivn Apartment
Walter B. Sanders of Research and Planning Associates,
New York City, has designed an apartment house of tomor-
row that is similar to Paul Nelson's plan for a house made up
of two distinct elements the exterior shell and the prefabri-
cated unit rooms.
Sanders suggests that apartment structures might be de-
signed along the lines of loft buildings, consisting of just
floors and ceilings. Space could be rented by the square foot,
and the amount of standardized equipment could be left to
the needs and means of the tenants.
"Imagine renting an apartment on the basis of the space
needed," explained Sanders, "with exposures, amount and
placement of windows, size, number and purpose of rooms
and closets left to your own choice! The potential market for
apartment owners would be vastly increased; strained land-
lord-tenant relationship greatly improved."
The apartment building could consist of two distinct ele-
ments. First there would be the structural frame, including
floors and ceilings. Within this would be created the individ-
ual apartments using mass-produced, standardized wall and
partition units. The necessary electric conduits, water-supply
and drainage mains, would be in place and there would be
A Castle for Every Man 25
fittings at each floor level to allow connections to individual
You could step into your rented space and then arrange
your apartment to suit yourself. The outside walls could be
clear, translucent, or insulated opaque units. You could move
them inward in the summer to form private outdoor terraces
and to shade the interior from the sun's rays. In the winter
you could move the walls forward to permit maximum sun-
light to enter your apartment.
The exterior wall sections would be part of the building
assembly. But the partition sections could be either purchased
or rented from the owner. Closet and wardrobe units, ob-
tained the same way, could be used as partitions to divide the
space in your apartment. These easily arranged, prefabricated
units would give your apartment great flexibility. It could
be altered as family conditions, or your moods, changed.
That "ole devil" standardization would not bother you.
Finished floorings also would come in sections that could
be quickly put down. The plumbing fixtures, bathtub, toilet,
lavatory, kitchen sink, and other units might be either rented
or owned like your furniture.
"The tenant's investment in parts purchased by him," ex-
plains Sanders, "would always have a trade-in value, just as
with vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and radios. If necessary
for any reason to move to another location, similar apartments
could accommodate the parts you owned. And if moving into
a home instead of an apartment, the incorporation of this
equipment would absorb in long-term buying some of the
financial shock of home building and ownership."
Sanders likewise points out that owners, as well as tenants,
would share the benefits of the new apartments of tomor-
"The initial building investment would be minimized, since
the purchase of the standardized parts would be according to
26 Miracles Ahead!
tenants' demands. Demountability of the structure would per-
mit either renting or buying the land for assembly of the
unit. The perennial 5 per cent allowance for vacancies would
be decreased because available space could be transformed to
meet the market. Replacement of obsolete equipment would
be facilitated since it would be independent of the structure.
The demountability and rented-land features could combat
the tendency toward obsolescence due to crowding, deterio-
ration of surroundings, or moving of production centers.
With costs written off over a definite but different period of
time for the structural frame, the equipment, the walls and
partition sections, etc., depreciation rates could be determined
more accurately, replacements facilitated, and the obsoles-
cence of the entire building could be reduced due to the
obsolescence of only a few of its parts."
Warborn advances in building materials and construction
methods will make possible a prefabricated home priced
within reach of the average family. But, first, the war must be
won so that our resources again will be available for home
building. Second, the pressure of public demand for prefab-
ricated homes must be strong enough to sweep away the old,
out-of-date technique of building homes. These new homes
cannot be built only one at a time. Standardization of parts
and quantity production are needed to produce low-cost but
well-built homes for millions of average families. If the build-
ing industry can be sure of a public demand for these houses,
you can be sure that they will be produced. Mass production
plus mass demand developed our great automobile industry
and several others. It can also revolutionize the building
A word of warning is voiced, however, by Arthur C.
A Castle for Every Man 27
Holden, prominent architect and a Fellow of the American
Institute of Architects:
"Even a willing public will fail to get the benefit of the
improvements that may be possible [in home construction]
if it is ignorant and complacent. In all of our large cities and
many of our small towns, laws have been passed to protect the
public safety and health against abuses in the design and con-
struction of buildings. But suppose a well-meaning building
code reads something like this: 'All exterior walls shall be a
rninimum of 8" of masonry construction. . . . All interior
wall surfaces, except where panelled in wood, shall be of plas-
ter or tile. . . . All floors in bathrooms shall be of approved
masonry construction.' These are phrases taken out of typical
building codes; they have the effect of preventing innovations
and improvements within the limits which are 'protected' by
such restrictive codes."
In order to economize particularly in plumbing materials,
the Federal Government drew up a compromise building
code, which many cities and towns agreed to follow during
the war emergency. But they may return to more restrictive
codes when the war ends, unless the public demands a realis-
tic policy toward prefabricated building materials.
In its 1943 report on a postwar economic program and
social security plans, the National Resources Planning Board
urged the modernization of building codes and recognition
of the value of modern refinements and improvements in con-
struction materials and methods.
There is danger likewise that life-insurance companies,
savings banks, and building and loan associations that lend
money on mortgages may be allergic to machine-made houses.
These institutions naturally seek to guard their investments
by turning thumbs down on the use of building materials that
have not been thoroughly tested. But this caution must not be
permitted to block the use of the excellent new materials
28 Miracles Ahead!
(light metals, plywood, plastics, etc.) which have been devel-
oped in the past two years.
The premium payers and depositors in lending institutions,
who also happen to be among those who will benefit from
low-cost, prefabricated houses, should insist that these insti-
tutions keep an open mind on the subject of prefabrication.
There'll be some amazing changes made in the postwar
world. But changes in homes will affect the largest number of
people in their everyday lives if prefabrication is given the
"WHY CAN'T OUR HOMES be as comfortable as the dustless,
draftless, air-conditioned, soundproofed, and almost perfectly
lighted war plants now in operation?" some of us have been
Despite our twentieth-century realism and scientific ad-
vances, the average home possesses few comforts. Suffocat-
ingly hot in summer, drafty and unevenly heated in winter,
badly lighted at all seasons, cluttered with too much furni-
ture and equipped with old-fashioned appliances that function
poorly or not at all, our homes reflect few of the engineering
and designing achievements of our generation. Our ten-year
depression and the exigencies of a wartime era were chiefly
responsible for this lag. But the necessity of maintaining high
employment levels after the war may bring about the mass
production of many household appliances and devices that we
now regard as luxuries. In this case we shall be able to purchase
for modest sums many important aids to better living.
Modern Lighting Equipment
Perhaps no improvement would mean more to most of us
than better light at home. Chronic eyestrain plagues millions
of Americans. This problem cannot be solved by increasing
the concentrated light supplied by floor and table lamps. The
contrast with the dark room beyond the circle of bright light
would merely aggravate the condition. The whole room
should be brightened up by a combination of fluorescent and
30 Miracles Ahead!
incandescent lamps mounted in a cove near the ceiling. Light-
ing could be automatic and governed by electric "eyes" sensi-
tive to outside variations in the daylight.
Because they produce a rich glowing light that is cool,
fluorescent lamps should be used on desks and tables. They
are more efficient and cost less to operate than the incandes-
cent lamp. The fluorescent lamp consists of a long thin glass
tube containing mercury. It is coated on the inside with a
substance (phosphors) that fluoresces, or gives off light when
exposed to ultraviolet radiations. The light from the fluores-
cent lamp is nearly as white as daylight. You can't see ultra-
violet rays, but you can observe their handiwork. One type
of ultraviolet radiation from the sun produces sunburn. These
rays also help your body to produce Vitamin D.
If the coating of phospors is not put on the fluorescent
lamp and a special glass is used for the tube, it then gives off
powerful germ-killing ultraviolet rays which will keep your
home free of harmful bacteria.
"Laundering" the Air
In the future your air-conditioning unit will also include a
Precipitron to eliminate dust from your home. This device for
"laundering" the air was invented in 1934 by Gaylord W.
Penney of the Westinghouse Research Laboratories. It con-
sists of tungsten wires and steel plates through which the air
is drawn. The wires positively charge the dust particles, which
pass on and stick to the negatively charged steel plates just as
iron fillings are drawn to a magnet.
Penney reported that the Precipitron installed in his Pitts-
burgh home added only sixty cents to one dollar to his
monthly light bill. He expected the cost of operation to be
lowered by the development of more efficient equipment.
The curtains in Mr. Penney's Precipitron-equipped home
Little Miracles 31
stay clean for eight or ten weeks. But in pre-Precipitron days
the curtains had to be laundered every two or three weeks.
Walls that had to be washed every spring now stay clean for
three years or more. This means that paint will last longer, and
the savings in laundry and dry-cleaning bills also add up to
quite a sum.
However, the air leakage into the average house is far
greater than most of us realize. Penney says that the air in
most houses will be changed from one to two times per hour
due to normal leakage around doors, windows, flooring. This
will limit the efficiency of the Precipitron and any air-condi-
tioning unit. But the performance of Penney 's "air laundry"
in Pittsburgh's famous smog (smoke plus fog) proves that it
is more than just another interesting gadget. After the war it
is possible that Precipitrons may cost little if any more than
electric refrigerators. Westinghouse has already made a unit
that sells for three hundred dollars, and one hundred and fifty
of them have been installed in private homes. The company
reports that, with large-scale distribution later on, the price
will be considerably lowered.
Another victory over city dirt (as well as over the high
cost of heating homes) has been won by Julian R. Fellows,
professor of mechanical engineering, and J. C. Miles, asso-
ciate, of the University of Illinois. They have developed a
furnace of the future to burn soft coal without filling the air
with smoke or soot.
More than 90 per cent of all the smoke produced by even
the most volatile of soft coals is consumed by the furnace,
which makes it possible to reduce fuel consumption by as
much as 25 per cent and to use cheaper grades of coal. Smoke
is forced down through the fire, where it is burned. Only the
32 Miracles Ahead!
smokeless burned gases escape up the chimney. Models of
the furnace (minus smokestack) have been operated in Ur-
bana and Springfield, Illinois, hotel lobbies to demonstrate
their smokeless performance.
Southern Illinois and other soft-coal interests hope the fur-
nace will help them regain markets lost in past years as the
result of antismoke ordinances in many cities, including once-
smoky St. Louis. Professor Fellows believes his furnace will
appeal to many homeowners who cannot afford stokers and
yet wish low-cost, smokeless coal heat.
Noise is definitely harmful to one's nerves, and there is too
much of it in the average home. Sound-absorbing material,
which traps sound in thousands of small holes and keeps it
from bouncing around a room, should be used extensively in
the home of tomorrow. There is no reason why the clatter
from the kitchen, or the uproar of the playroom, should be
allowed to invade the living room. And a telephone nook, or
a corner for reading or writing, could be protected from
noises in other parts of the living room that center of many
activities of the average family. The new, open-front tele-
phone booths in New York City's Sixth Avenue Subway are
an outstanding example of effective soundproofing. A person
can phone even while a train is rumbling by.
The Architectural Forum goes another step forward and
says that acoustics should not stop at the mere absorption of
a sound. "It seems likely," the Forum declares, "that the de-
signer of the house of the future will have to be as much con-
cerned with rooms that 'sound' and 'feel' right as with appear-
Little Miracles 33
ance and convenience. The movie industry, for instance, has
developed small rooms for screening pictures which sound
exactly like big theatres. Is there any reason why the room
in which we listen to the radio should not be made to sound
like a concert hall when we listen to 'big' music? Modern
rooms, with their bare walls and sparse furniture, often sound
hollow like an empty apartment and frequently present
other annoying acoustical problems. Most of these faults can
be obviated by nonparallel walls, sloping ceiling or curved
surfaces if the designer is sufficiently well acquainted with
Engineers tell us that radiant heating will chase the radiators
or hot-air vents out of the home of the future. Radiant heat-
ing warms the walls, or floor and ceiling, by means of con-
cealed hot-air or hot-water pipes. The temperature in a
radiant-heated room might be 65 degrees or less, but you
could sit around in your shirt sleeves and feel comfortable.
Sounds like "black magic." But it isn't.
Physics teachers tell us of a law which says that a warm
body always loses heat to a cold one. Your body produces
more heat than it needs, and you must get rid of this extra heat
to be comfortable. You feel uncomfortably warm when the
body has difficulty getting rid of its excess heat, and cold
when it loses heat too fast. If the walls of a room are cold you
lose heat to them and feel chilly even though the air in the
room may be hot. But if the walls around you are heated by
steam pipes to 80 or 90 degrees you lose very little heat to
them and feel comfortably warm even though cold air may
be swirling around you.
On the other hand, a radiator in a room heats the air in one
spot and depends on the circulation to warm the whole room.
34 Miracles Ahead!
This causes drafts and the room temperature is never
You have seen movies of bathing beauties out skiing when
the temperature was below freezing. Were they running the
risk of getting pneumonia? No radiant heat kept them
warm. The rays of the sun, which were reflected from the
snow, balanced the body heat lost to the cold air.
Radiant cooling of a home works on the same principle as
radiant heating. You would pump air or cold water through
pipes and let your body radiate heat to the walls. But in most
climates a dehumidifier would be needed to take the moisture
out of the air, or the damp air would condense on the walls
and turn them into miniature waterfalls.
You'll have fewer pieces of furniture to move around on
house-cleaning day in the future because more pieces will be
built into the house. The industrial designer Gilbert Rohde
believes that all "wall pieces" chests, cabinets, anything that
now remains in position against the wall will be built in as
part of the house.
"The building-in of furniture," he explains, "will relieve a
family of bulky possessions, will be cheaper, and will permit
a better organization of space because the furniture will be
built to fit. Large sofas may also be built in with radio and
radio-television controls in the arms."
T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings looks forward to the day of
fewer and better pieces of furniture. He feels that "man's
psychological fear of an empty space" has caused him to
clutter up his home with unnecessary furniture. He contends
that the first part of our adjustment to the house of tomorrow
must be to overcome this instinct to fill empty spaces. Then
Little Miracles 35
all the furniture which is placed against the wall for the sake
of filling an empty space will be eliminated.
"All the money," he concludes, "which we have spent be-
cause of this pathological fear will then be available for the
furniture we need for actual use in our rooms. And we can
concentrate on making this furniture beautiful, or finer qual-
ity, and available to all."
Robsjohn-Gibbings adds the prediction that the men in the
airplane industry, who are making amazing experiments in
wood fabrication, may have an important influence on the
furniture industry of the future.
One long-standing complaint of housewives has been the
lack of good storage space. They want more coat closets,
bedroom closets, linen closets, toy closets, and so on. The
usual skimpy closet could be expanded into a dressing room
with specialized drawers and shelves for protecting and stor-
ing clothing. Designers are planning new mass-produced
closets to give maximum service at a low price. These closets
will have raised floors and rounded corners for easier cleaning,
built-in lights, mothproof linings, built-in drawers, and a vari-
ety of hangers and racks for trousers, shoes, ties, coats, and
hats. A few of these closets could easily turn an ordinary
house into a good one.
Small Items That Mean Comfort
Plastics, which are made of air, water, coal, and limestone,
will be used for interior decoration in your home. Window
molding, doorknobs, mantels, and other trim made of bright,
colorful plastics will make your home more cheerful. Lucite,
36 Miracles Ahead!
one of the new plastics, can make light rays go around a cor-
ner. Thus it will be possible to bring sunlight from the roof
down to any room in your house. Among the other synthetics
are fabrics, woven from glass, which will make draperies and
curtains that are fireproof, unfading, and practically ever-
Russel and Mary Wright are confident that "increased ex-
perience with synthetic fibers will produce simplification of
the labor- wasting system of bedmaking. Imagine a buttonless
mattress to which is attached a permanent blanket containing
a highly efficient insulating material both mattress and
blanket covered with a new scrubbable fabric, leaving only
the sheets and pillow cases to be washed," they explain. "Im-
proved electric blankets equipped with thermostatic adjust-
ment to suit the fussiest sleeper may well become household
A Modern Bathroom
The average bathroom has not been improved much since
the 1920*8. The shower should automatically deliver water of
the right temperature, instead of generally requiring several
minutes of experimenting. Built-in soap dishes should drain
properly and prevent soap from turning into a sticky mess.
Instead of spilling several articles out every time it is opened,
the too-shallow bathroom cabinet should be deep enough to
hold the large assortment of articles usually found in such a
Discussing apartment-house bathrooms, Elisabeth Coit re-
marks, "How many designers are guilty of putting bathroom
cabinets back to back with no insulation between? The neigh-
bor's conversation and his plumbing noise come right
The mirror over the washbasin should be well lighted and
Little Miracles 37
adjustable so a man could shave himself without courting eye-
strain or razor nicks. Knee levers or toe pedals should open
and close the taps in the washbasin. And why not make the
basin big enough to bathe the baby in? Walter Dorwin Teague
suggests putting an electric washing machine under the wash-
basin. Of course you may prefer the laundry equipment in
the kitchen. But since every woman uses the bathroom for
laundering stockings and lingerie, some designers say the
whole laundry might just as well be done there.
Electric heaters and sun lamps should be built into the bath-
room ceiling. A waterproofed rubber-tile floor would permit
a person to walk around barefooted without getting cold feet.
"The mass-production techniques that made the auto what
it is today," observes Fortune magazine, "may make the bath-
room what it should be tomorrow. Small bathrooms could be
made in a few easy-to-assemble pieces, priced to undersell
even the cheapest home-installed jobs. The eminently sensible
Victorian custom of a lavatory in each bedroom might be
revived and improved with devices like the disappearing
washbasin of the Pullman bedroom. Large bathrooms could
include an array of refinements and innovations. The largest
might include dressing rooms equipped with everything from
curling irons to overnight pants pressers. Such units could
replace many an existing bathroom. With his 20-year-old fix-
tures giving him trouble both esthetically and functionally,
what house owner could resist the temptation to rip them out
and put a $700 dream in their place? "
The prewar refrigerator was a great improvement over the
old-fashioned icebox. It kept food colder. But a lot of that
"cold" was lost every time you opened the refrigerator door
and rummaged around hunting for something invariably be-
38 Miracles Ahead!
hind two other bottles or dishes. A lot of dispositions were
ruined by balky ice-cube trays.
The refrigerator of the future could be divided into a series
of drawers spread out along the kitchen counter. Each drawer
would hold a certain kind of food at its own ideal temperature
and humidity. There would be a drawer for milk, butter, and
cheese; another for frozen foods; another for meats; and an-
other for vegetables. Glass tops in the kitchen counter would
permit you to see the contents of a drawer without opening
it. Ice cubes might be obtained by pressing a button or turn-
ing a crank.
The Hamby "Kitchenless House"
The basis of William Hamby's work is that the home must
be improved for the one who uses it the most the housewife.
To get rid of kitchen drudgery, he has abolished the usual
kitchen. He's streamlined the kitchen and brought it out in
the open so that it becomes part of the spacious dining area.
It forms the end wall of the dining room. No longer would
the kitchen be a room shut off from the rest of the house,
where a woman "stands over a hot stove," wears herself out
stooping and stretching to get things out of cupboards or the
refrigerator, and keeps busy early and late washing dishes.
"Don't think for a minute," Hamby hastens to add, "that
this arrangement handicaps the kitchen by restricting it to
makeshift methods or that it spoils the dining room by litter-
ing it with pots and pans. This is an entirely new kind of
kitchen, with far more facilities of every sort than the low-cost
home has ever had before. And, like nearly all things that
work better, it looks better, too."
When you enter the Hamby "kitchen" you immediately
notice the long horizontal arrangement of counter, sink, and
cupboard space. All the staples and heavy utensils are on the
Little Miracles 39
shelves easiest to reach no more teetering around on a step-
ladder while you hunt for an elusive box of cloves or baking
powder. The lighter dishes and plates are on the shelves im-
mediately above. The whole length of the kitchen counter is
designed for food storage, with compartments to hold each
food at its own ideal temperature and humidity, including
vegetables, meat, butter, frosted foods, and cereals.
This kitchen has an easy-to-reach place for everything,
and everything is in its place. You can prepare an entire
recipe at one spot, without stooping, stretching, or hunting
for things. Suppose you take a chicken from one of the
kitchen-counter compartments. Right at hand you find all
the materials for stuffing the chicken, roasting it, and making
the gravy. Then you serve it at the dining table only a step
or two away. No, you don't serve it on a special platter. You
serve it in the same utensil it was cooked in, for it is a bright,
clean electric utensil that plugs in along the kitchen coun-
Automatic heat regulation makes these utensils ideal for
cooking a meal. No longer do you have to patrol the kitchen
looking at each pot and pan to see that something is not get-
ting ready to burn. No more do you worry about whether the
beans and corn are going to be done too soon, and will have
to stand around while you fix the steak or chops. Automatic
heat control will see that each vegetable or meat dish is done
at the right moment to serve piping hot thus removing a
major cause of worry for the cook.
By this time you've also noted that the kitchen needs no
stove. That's another place where cleaning and scouring
would be abolished. You get another pleasant surprise when
you examine the sink. Instead of bothersome hand faucets,
there are knee-operated valves that leave both hands free.
And a waterproof paper bag, in a compartment built into the
sink, does away with the unattractive garbage pail.
4o Miracles Ahead!
At one end of the kitchen counter you discover another
device to eliminate "Monday-morning blues" it's a modern
automatic laundry. The laundry is concealed from the dining
area but is really part of the kitchen.
You note, too, that the kitchen is flooded with light in the
daytime, but it is not too bright for your eyes. The kitchen
wall itself is of translucent fiber glass, while the wall units cut
off the light at eye level and keep you from having to look
into the light. Fluorescent tubes along the walls provide in-
expensive, cool "daylight" at night. In the center is an open
space of transparent glass to serve as a window-with-view,
and in this are placed glass shelves for plants and flowers.
An oil-burning fireplace furnace to heat the house and fur-
nish year-round hot water is recessed into the living-room
wall next to the kitchen. You can open the door to let the
comforting oil flame of the furnace show through the glass
in front all the atmosphere of the wood-burning fireplace
without its bother.
Hamby points out that this arrangement not only simplifies
the heating system but concentrates all the mechanical work-
ing parts of a house near one point. "This would enable you,"
he explains, "to get the most out of the plumbing, wiring and
utilities. In that way, and through the use of rust-proof cop-
per pipes and parts, leaks and costly repairs could be almost
In this two-story house the bath is immediately above the
kitchen and utilities. This location further concentrates the
mechanical parts near one point in the house. By reducing the
length and complication of the piping, such a plan makes it
possible to use the finest plumbing methods and the best ma-
terials while keeping the over-all cost within the reach of
families of moderate means.
Because every inch of space in this "kitchenless house" is
planned for full use, this home can be of modest proportions
Little Miracles 41
and stall provide plenty of living and working space for the
family of average size.
This reduction in size, plus the simplification of mechanical
parts so they can be mass-produced, should make Hamby's
house cost no more than thirty-five hundred dollars complete
with all its improvements.
CARS OF THE 1960's
YOUR POSTWAR CAR will probably be made of light metals and
plastics and may therefore be around one thousand to twelve
hundred pounds lighter than 1942 models! This means a
smaller, "air-minded" motor designed to burn the high-octane
gasoline now used in fighters and bombers. You won't have to
bother with the gearshift at all, for the gears will be shifted
automatically as your car picks up speed. There will be no
fenders nor running boards on this "wingless plane-car." The
wheels will be enclosed by the streamlined body and the bot-
tom of the car will be airtight to protect the drive shaft, dif-
ferential, and other parts from dust and dirt. Doors will slide
back or roll up like a roll-top desk and will be controlled by
buttons instead of door handles!
Yes, this new car will be more livable and practical than
any you have been able to buy to date. Removing the fenders
and running boards will permit the inside of your car to be
more spacious, without greatly increasing its over-all length.
This will provide a back seat at least six feet wide, giving space
for a couch or bed. The driver's seat will be fixed (but adjust-
able, of course), while the other two front seats may be
moved around as you move your living-room chairs. And
there will be plenty of "living room" in your new car. Uphol-
stery will be of a fabric made of soy beans, or a cloth spun
from glass. These can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
The inside of the car will not be cluttered up with window
cranks, because the vehicle will be air-conditioned.
Cars of the 1960'$ 43
Visibility for the driver will be increased by having his seat
far forward. Only about 25 per cent of the total length of the
car will be in front of his line of vision, instead of 50 per cent
as in 1942 cars. This will enable the driver quickly to spot
cars coming in from cross streets and eliminate a lot of nerve-
racking sharp turns and quick stops.
Your car's tough, transparent plastic nose, like the "green-
houses" on a Flying Fortress, will give you unbroken vision
all around. No more peeping from behind the center or corner
posts in the windshield. This plastic nose will not fog or frost
it would not be used by our high-flying, all-weather
bombers if it did.
Headlights could be made to throw a narrow, flat beam to
illuminate the road ahead without blinding an approaching
driver. Or a polarizing lens for headlights, plus a similar screen
for the windshield, would abolish glare. A lens of this type is
already widely used in our glare-eliminating sunglasses.
Your car may have rubber springs, which also serve as shock
absorbers. They will operate silently and reduce road noise.
Easier parking and steering will be obtained by having some-
what smaller wheels. But the tires may be larger, using lower
air pressure to give you smoother and longer service. Rayon
cord fabric makes military tires stronger. Your postwar tires
will be made of long-wearing synthetic rubber (mixed with
small amounts of natural rubber) and rayon cord. You should
get around one hundred thousand miles of wear from these
tires. A very tough, heat-resisting glass-textile fiber may prove
suitable for tire cord. If this fiber can be used, it will be pos-
sible to reduce the amount of rubber in tires.
A plastic "sky-view" top will give everybody in your car
a chance to enjoy the scenery as you explore new sections of
the country. Industrial designer George Walker explains that
the plastic top will permit the transmission of ultraviolet rays
(which are halted by ordinary glass) and "will give the pas-
44 Miracles Ahead!
senger a good tan without the discomfort of sunburn, due to
the elimination of the infrared rays." A lightweight Venetian-
type blind could control the amount of light desired, or a
polarizing device could be adjusted to shade off excessive sun-
light or glare. The plastic top also would insulate the car
against summer heat and winter cold.
An air-conditioning system will permit you to take your
climate with you no matter whether you are touring a desert
wasteland or the icy mountains. The air conditioner is located
under the snub-nosed hood in front of the driver the engine
doesn't live there any more. It is in the rear, installed in "pan-
cake" fashion (with the cylinders horizontal). The engine is
directly over the rear wheels, which permits the hooking of
the engine directly to the transmission system. This arrange-
ment reduces the loss in power resulting from the use of a
long drive shaft running from the front to the rear of today's
The removal of the drive shaft makes it possible to lower
the floor of the car, thus putting the center of gravity so low
that on sharp turns at high speeds the car banks and doesn't
roll easily. You have seen this principle demonstrated by a
toy doll with a weighted base, which keeps it from being
knocked over. One airplane feature vertical fins like plane
rudders may be used by some postwar cars to give them
greater "readability. " (One of Packard's designs for a postwar
car uses this idea.)
New Low Prices
You will get all this and more safety, too, at a low price and
an operation cost little higher than that of your household ap-
How much will your postwar car cost? Some engineers say
a light car can be made to sell for around seven hundred dol-
Cars of the 1960*$ 45
lars, a little less than the same size prewar car. Others believe
that a car can be made to sell for four hundred dollars.
"After a few years," remarks David Dietz, Scripps-Howard
science editor, "post-war cars will be so far ahead of 1942
models that the differences separating the two will be greater
than those separating the 1942 car from the old Model T
Dr. Charles M. A. Stine, vice-president of E. I. du Pont de
Nemours and Company, points out that "since automobile
production stopped the shiny new models that are gathering
dust in dealers' storerooms have aged, technically, at least 20
years. We are now in the 1960*8 of motor cars, as measured
by the old pace of development."
Between 1912 and 1942 the automobile industry did give
the consumer a car of greater dependability and better appear-
ance at a lower cost. In dollars per horsepower, cars cost only
about one-third what they did in 1925. And it cost the owner
a little more than half as much to run his car in 1942 as it did
fifteen years ago!
But in recent years the more the prewar car seemed to
change the more it remained the same. The main reason for
this was the huge investment in expensive dies and tools which
the companies did not want to scrap. A new model was
brought out each year, but this model did not differ more
than 10 per cent from the previous year's model.
Automobile stylists designed a car with accent on beauty.
They went in for fancy fenders and radiator grilles. They
streamlined the windshield by slanting it, but they also stream-
lined the rear window so that in winter snow piled on it and
the driver couldn't see out. Even in clear weather the rear
window gave the driver little more vision than that afforded
by the tank driver's slit in an M-4 tank. Meanwhile the auto-
motive engineers were forced to wrench the machinery
around to fit the stylists' ideas of what a car should look like.
46 Miracles Ahead!
In 1942, however, the automobile industry was converted to
war production. While setting records in the output of tanks,
guns, planes, and other equipment for war, the automobile
industry has learned a lot about using light metals, plastics,
compact engines, and new fuels for postwar automobiles.
Furthermore, the old automobile assembly lines have been torn
out to make way for war production; some tools and dies
have been scrapped, or are getting out of date.
Figuratively rubbing his hands, Fred M. Zeder, chief engi-
neer and vice-chairman of the board of Chrysler Corporation,
"As a result of the suspension of automobile production,
the industry will find itself for the first time, when the war
is over, able to approach the design and construction of
motorcars on a new basis. The war has freed motorcar engi-
neers from the traditions of the past, freed them from the
stranglehold of old machine tools and methods. Research can
now be directed at things as they should be, rather than as
Engines Move Back
Needless to say, all of the new possibilities for the car of
the future will not be adopted without a struggle. The pros
and cons on rear engines are being argued fiercely now and,
to be sure, you will be able to buy cars in the future with
engines up in front. Some engineers still favor that arrange-
ment. They contend that a rear-engined car will be difficult
to control at high speeds and that a constant weight on the
front wheels makes for a smoother ride. They also point out
that the necessity of keeping the engine cool requires that it
be up front so the radiator can get the benefit of natural
Proponents of the rear-engined car say the weight prob-
Cars of the i$6o's 47
lem will be solved by the building of lighter engines. William
"Bill" Stout says the rear-engined car can be cooled efficiently
if the motor is installed lengthwise instead of sidewise. His
rear-engined Scarab, which was built in 1935, used a Ford
V-8 motor, with cooling solution sealed in, and ventilation
vanes built into the engine housing. A "pancake" motor could
be cooled by bringing the air down from a grille in front of
the car and passing it to the motor through a tube running
under the floor. Some critics of rear-engine installation agree
that if a compact air-cooled engine is generally adopted it
could be placed anywhere.
Mr. Stout reminds us that the first cars had their engines
in the rear; but the manufacturers abandoned the idea because
they could not drop the notion, says Stout, that a car was
really a buggy, with an engine instead of a horse between the
Stout insists that the rear-engine car is safer, having less
tendency to skid because the additional weight gives the rear
tires a better grip on the road than does today's front-engined
car. "Even on ice," he adds, "I find it easy to maintain trac-
tion in this car the Scarab which I have driven 125,000
miles. With the weight in back, the rear seat ride will be the
best ride in the car. In front-engined cars the best ride is given
the engine, and the passengers take the bumps. ... At the
same time, the front end is light enough so that if you run off
the slab onto soft spots beside the highway there will be no
tendency for the front wheels to bury themselves in the mud
and put the car out of control."
Engineers may continue to argue over where the engine
should be placed. But they all agree that it should be improved.
"The present engine," declares Fred M. Zeder, "weighs five
times as much per horsepower as the aviation engine. . . .
We can go as far as we want in weight reduction of auto-
mobile engines. In fact, it's possible to eliminate 250 of the
48 Miracles Ahead!
average of 600 pounds." "Bill" Stout already has developed
a hundred-pound, hundred-horsepower, four-cylinder, air-
cooled automobile engine.
New Metals for New Motors
New light but tough metals and more powerful gasoline
will aid in the perfecting of small, high-speed auto engines
with greater power per pound of weight. If a little gasoline is
poured on the ground and ignited, it flares up quietly. But if
gasoline and air are compressed by the piston in the cylinder
of an engine, and then ignited by a spark, the mixture burns
very rapidly and the consequent expansion drives the piston
back with great force. The more the gasoline and air are com-
pressed the greater the power delivered. The problem has
been to make a cylinder head strong enough to stand the
greater pressure exerted by a high-compression motor, with-
out adding too much dead weight to the motor.
The use of steel alloys (steel plus vanadium, chromium,
molybdenum, manganese, etc.) and beryllium has produced
materials which make light but tremendously strong cylinder
heads. Further experimentation with beryllium, the tough
cousin of aluminum and magnesium, promises to bring future
marvels in metallurgy to speed the building of the low-cost
Beryllium is one-third lighter than aluminum and harder
then steel, but it is too brittle alone for use in high-speed
machinery. If 2 per cent of beryllium is added to copper, and
a heat treatment then is used, an amazing change is wrought
in copper. The beryllium-copper alloy made into a rod only
one-half inch thick will lift twenty tons! A beryllium copper
chisel can be driven through steel. Most metals "get tired,"
but beryllium-copper is virtually untiring. It gets a "second
wind" just when other metals give up the race. For instance,
Cars of the i^66 > s 49
spring steel will take three million vibrations on a testing
machine. Beryllium-copper can take at least one billion.
The delicate new aviation instruments have beryllium-
copper in them to assure permanent accuracy under all sorts
of stress and strain. Engineers have begun to use this alloy in
the electrical equipment, valves, and gears of engines, and in
radios, electric motors, and other high-speed machines. Your
vacuum cleaner and refrigerator give you longer service
because of beryllium-copper.
Another alloy beryllium-nickel is stronger than beryl-
lium-copper and has a bright future. If beryllium and alumi-
num can be combined, the automobile and aviation industries
may have the perfect alloy for engine pistons. And when the
problem of combining beryllium and magnesium is solved,
engineers will have an excellent alloy for structural purposes.
As beryllium-production processes are simplified, and the
price is lowered, this metal will be used more widely in the
building of a better postwar auto engine.
Renaissance of the Diesels
Recent improvements in Diesel engines indicate that the
present gasoline motor may someday have to look to its lau-
rels. The Navy is using a new "pancake"-type Diesel engine
which gives lighter ships increased speed and range.
Dr. Rudolph Diesel, a German engineer, patented his en-
gine in 1892 and first operated it successfully in 1897. The
power explosion in the Diesel cylinder is caused by compres-
sion instead of by a spark as in a gasoline engine.
Thus the Diesel has no ignition system nor spark plugs.
Neither does it have a carburetor, which is used in the gaso-
line engine to mix air and gasoline and admit them to the cyl-
inder. In place of the ignition system and carburetor there are
injectors, which are usually placed about where the spark
50 Miracles Ahead!
plugs would be in a gasoline engine, and the injection
The Diesel's piston compresses the air in the cylinder and
raises the temperature to about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. (You
may remember how a bicycle pump gets hot while you are
pumping up a tire.) When the piston is near the top of the
cylinder, fuel is injected into the heated air in the form of a
fine spray; and it starts to burn immediately. The burning
fuel then expands rapidly and forces the piston down.
The best gasoline engines must use high-octane fuel, and
others generally use ordinary gasoline. But the Diesel will use
any fuel gaseous, liquid, or solid igniting at 1,000 degrees
Fahrenheit or under that can be sprayed into the cylinder.
Usually the Diesel burns heavy fuel oil. Diesel's first engine
used powdered coal, and even buttermilk has been used. The
Diesel is not choosy!
Aside from the fuel-economy angle, the Diesel is the most
efficient of all types of heat engines. The steam engine is 6 to
8 per cent efficient; the steam-power plant, 15 to 27 per cent;
the gasoline engine, 22 to 28 per cent; the Diesel, 32 to 38 per
cent. The temperature of the Diesel never is as high as that of
the gasoline engine. High cylinder temperatures are always
transmitted to the surrounding air or cooling water, and are
carried off as waste energy. Therefore the Diesel wastes less
energy in this manner than the gasoline engine one of the
main reasons why it is more efficient.
Charles F. Kettering, research chief of General Motors,
believes the Diesel is ready to go places after having expe-
rienced plenty of growing pains.
"In old days," he said, " Diesels were large and terribly
heavy. They used to say a Diesel was 'a mountain of iron
with a rivulet of power/ Also, it made a lot of noise and a
bad smell. One trouble was that for the first 20 years, because
they put Diesels in boats, they tried to make them like gaso-
Cars of the i$6o's 51
line engines. Now, we are trying to make them like Diesel
engines. So, with constantly better alloys and knowledge of
combustion, we are steadily taking metal, and noise, and smell
out of the Diesel."
In 1937 Kettering declared that "the Diesel is entering new
fields of usefulness entirely unsuspected just a few short years
ago." Today the Diesel seems headed for still newer fields.
Recently it was discovered that when ordinary gasoline was
used as a fuel in the Diesel it gave one-third more miles per
gallon than the same fuel would have given in a gasoline
engine. This discovery may lead to the adoption of a fuel-
injection gasoline engine, without spark plugs or carburetor,
which operates on the Diesel principle. Excellent German
aviation engines use the fuel-injection system and give plenty
of power with gasoline which has a much lower octane rating
than our new fuels. So here is another possibility for the super-
efficient postwar auto engine.
Jeeps for the Farm
When they stop to think about postwar cars, engineers give
some attention to the jeep's character and performance. This
2,200 pound combat car can carry six men in an emergency,
mount a fifty-caliber machine gun, and tow guns and other
equipment. There are few jobs in the Army that it hasn't
been asked to do and it does them well.
It is powered by a four-cylinder, sixty-horsepower, go-devil
engine and has six speeds forward and two in reverse. It can
plow through high water, duck in and out of ditches, dodge
under trees, and scramble up steep hills while its crew is
pumping lead at the enemy.
The American Bantam Car Company came forward with
an idea for a jeep in 1940, and the Army promptly dropped its
plan to buy a lot of motorcycles. Willys-Overland, Bantam,
52 Miracles Ahead!
and Ford now make jeeps for the Army, which considers
them our main contribution to mobile warfare. The Russians,
who know a thing or two about fighting in all sorts of
weather, agree that the jeep is no "summer soldier."
No one proposes that the jeep replace the passenger auto-
mobile, but Don E. Weaver, editor of the Fort Worth Press,
believes the jeep will be kept busy when the war ends.
"After the Civil War," he wrote, "the slogan was '40 acres
and a mule.' Well, why not 40 acres and a jeep? The Depart-
ment of Agriculture has tried them out and finds that they
can pull a plow, cultivator, or mower as well as a tractor.
And you can unhitch the plow, load up the wife and kids,
and go to town in the jeep on Saturday nights.
"The farmer lost the old family horse when he got a flivver
and a tractor. The flivver couldn't work the fields and he
couldn't go to town in the tractor. The jeep, bless its heart,
can do both.
"If you're not interested in farming 40 acres with a jeep,
or in using one to herd cattle or ride fences on your ranch,
maybe you would like to take a two-week vacation rough-
ing it. The modern auto is swell, but it can't be everything.
It has been refined for superluxurious city use. The jeep is as
outdoors as a hunting dog."
The Plastic Car
Several materials may be expected to compete for the honor
of forming the body of your postwar car. Plastics made of
soy beans, resins, grains, petroleum, and other unlikely
sounding products have a lot to recommend them. Robert A.
Boyer, until recently a research engineer for Henry Ford, has
built an all-plastic car body which is eight hundred pounds
lighter than the standard model and has ten times the impact
strength of steel. Boyer agrees that a plastic car may not be a
Cars of the 1960'$ 53
great deal better than a steel car, "but plastics will enable us to
build a better car at lower cost."
Plastic bodies will be built in panels. In case of a wreck,
only the damaged panel would have to be replaced. In the
future, dealers may stock body panels as well as parts. You
can stop worrying about the usual crop of scratches and dents
that a car generally picks up in the course of a year's driving.
Plastic bodies can take punishment. A husky man smacked
the Ford plastic car with an ax and failed to dent it. For
another thing, the smooth, hard finish on your plastic car is
built in to stay forever.
Molded plywood alternate layers of wood and plastic
baked into shape under pressure will give plastics a lot of
competition. Factories now are turning out molded-plywood
tails, wings, and fuselages for training planes, and fuselages
for bombers and cargo planes. The fuselage of Britain's De
Haviland twin-engined Mosquito bomber, which carries two
thousand pounds of bombs and has a range of three thousand
miles, is made of two layers of plywood with a center of balsa
sandwiched between them. It takes hours to plug bulletholes
in a metal plane, but a wooden Mosquito bomber can be
patched in a few minutes.
Plastics and plastic plywood both will be challenged by
aluminum and magnesium alloys. These two metals are vital
in airplane construction. Wartime necessity has tremendously
expanded our output of aluminum and magnesium, and low-
ered their price so they will be available for low-cost cars.
In 1941, automobiles used an average of only seven pounds
of aluminum, while magnesium was, until a few years ago, a
structural curiosity. A lighter, but strong, automobile chassis
will be made from aluminum and magnesium alloys. In addi-
tion, welding will replace bolts and rivets in the construction
of the chassis.
Some automotive engineers are confident that steel will not
54 Miracles Ahead!
be elbowed out of the race by other rivals. They explain that
although stainless steel is three times as heavy as the light-
metal alloys it is so much stronger that only one-third as much
need be used. They believe that further experiments with
light-gauge steel will permit them to do as much with it as
with the light metals.
Tremendous improvement in gasoline not only will permit
the use of lighter, smaller engines but will require the con-
struction of entirely new engines to burn this fuel. The
Socony- Vacuum Oil Company reports that its new gasoline
is so powerful that no engine now in operation can make full
use of it.
The big oil companies are producing immense quantities of
powerful (high-octane) gasoline for military use. This fuel
should hasten the day of victory. It adds 15 per cent to the
operating range of our bombers and permits an increased load
of two to three tons of bombs for every ten tons they carry
today. It enables fighter planes to get "upstairs" faster a
priceless asset in aerial combat. Cargo planes carry heavier
loads to far-flung battle fronts because their engines have the
extra power needed for the job.
This extra power is made possible because high-octane gas-
oline gets rid of the "knock" in engines. When fuel "knocks"
in an engine it is not burning evenly and efficiently. In order
to build a high-compression engine it was necessary to develop
high-octane "antiknock" gasoline.
Several years ago chemists worked out an "octane scale" to
measure the efficiency and "antiknock" quality of gasoline.
The "100 octane" rating was given a variety of fuel that
would be 100 per cent antiknock. Then the chemists began
shooting at the 100 octane goal.
Cars of the 196 cfs 55
First Dr. Thomas Midgley, Jr., discovered that a few drops
of tetraethyl lead (composed of lead and alcohol) in gasoline
made it burn evenly and halted the knocking. But, since tetra-
ethyl lead's effectiveness strangely decreases as the amount
added to gasoline increases, it could not raise the octane rating
of gasoline above 87 the type of fuel our military planes
used for years.
So, instead of adding anything more to gasoline, the chem-
ists took the second step. They began to rebuild the fuel itself.
Crude oil is a complicated compound of hydrogen and car-
bon, with smaller amounts of sulphur, oxygen, and a few
other elements. By a refining process known as "cracking,"
the hydrocarbon molecules are cracked apart under terrific
pressure and heat. Then they are hooked together again to
form a new fuel high-octane gasoline. Improvements in the
cracking process have brought a great saving in petroleum
supplies, because it can make high-octane fuel from heavy oils
that otherwise could not be used for gasoline.
Today we have several fuels that exceed the 100 octane
rating. One superfuel "triptane" is reported to be 50 per
cent more powerful than aviation gasoline. Only very small
amounts of triptane can be made now, but it, and other super-
fuels, should be in quantity production in a few years.
Our capacity to produce powerful fuels will be available
for civilian cars when the war is over. And the price will be
low. These high-octane fuels will mean that if you now get
eighteen miles per gallon you should get thirty or more in
the postwar years.
Future Traffic Solutions
By now you may be saying, "This low-cost postwar dream
car sounds fine. But it will merely be a nightmare to me unless
something is done about traffic congestion and parking diffi-
56 Miracles Ahead!
culties; blind crossings and reckless drivers, whose tribe seems
Highway and traffic engineers, and radio experts, are going
to do something about these problems. More superhighways,
with underpasses and overpasses, will be built between large
cities. (These highways also will be widened at certain points
with landing strips for airplanes.) Crooked, narrow "bottle-
neck" streets in cities and towns will be straightened and
widened, and elevated highways will be built to speed up
city traffic. These jobs will cost a lot of money, but they will
be worth it. It is estimated that traffic snarls cost several mil-
lion dollars a year in New York City alone. The use of build-
ing roofs and basements for parking, an idea that has already
been tried out in some cities, will be generally adopted in the
future. No longer will street parking be permitted to cut the
efficiency of expensive streets by 50 per cent.
The Radio Traffic Cop
In a few years your car radio may have two receivers
one for your favorite dance band or news commentator and
the other for the radio traffic cop, who will patrol the roads
or be stationed at strategic spots. He will give you directions
via standard national highway frequency, warning you of an
accident down the road, a dangerous curve, a damaged bridge,
or a blind crossing. And in a few more years the traffic cop
may be hovering overhead in a helicopter to shepherd you
around traffic jams or road hazards.
William S. Halstead, a New York City communications
engineer, believes that the automobile of the future will
emphasize safety in order to compete with low-cost airplanes.
"Auto makers," he said, "have made the car safe. The post-
war emphasis will be on making the driver safe. The most
likely method to be used will be highway radio broadcasts
Cars of the 1966*$ 57
which will feed caution and common sense into the ears of
the driver and relieve his already strained eyes. The road
marker of the future will be the radio"
Radar for Driving Safety
Radar, the war device that has been guarding our coasts and
shipping lanes, will give aid and comfort to the motorist in
years to come. Radar means RAdio Detecting And Ranging.
It can spot the enemy beyond the range of human eyes and
ears, and fog, clouds, storms, or darkness have no effect on
its amazing powers. This electronic device sends out ultra-
high-frequency -radio waves. If these waves strike an enemy
submarine, plane, or ship, they bounce back, and in doing so
they locate and measure the distance to the enemy targets.
With Radar in your car you won't have to worry about a
pea-soup fog or a blinding storm. The radio waves from your
car will pierce the gloom and warn you if there is danger
Radio advances in the future may permit you to follow a
direction beam just as planes do. No more poring over road
maps. You tune in on the wave length of the city you wish to
visit, and ride in on the beam.
At present the V Day plans of automobile makers call for
a quick change-over to the production of slightly modified
1942 models. They explain that this procedure will help cush-
ion anticipated widespread unemployment during the recon-
version of industries to peacetime production, and also meet
the heavy demand of eager buyers for new cars.
Leo H. Rich, an associate of Walter Dorwin Teague, an
industrial designer, is critical of manufacturers who plan to
58 Miracles Ahead!
return to 1942 models. He declared that manufacturers have
educated the public to expect new models each year and that
consumers, who are aware of the great strides industry is mak-
ing during the war, are looking for remarkable improvements
in postwar products.
"This does not mean," he said, "that the public expects or
would welcome all the radical fantasies which have been
dreamed of on various drawing boards, but it certainly doesn't
expect that the war will have brought no progress."
Rich agreed that some manufacturers will have no chance
to retool before peace, and some must resume production of
1942 models in order to bridge the gap and avoid unemploy-
ment. But he added that "this should be a stop-gap policy and
manufacturers should disown any desire to capitalize on a
He suggested that 1942 models be labeled "temporary" or
"victory" models and that new designs should not have to
wait until the market for these is exhausted.
Other commentators argue that when peace comes there
will be few if any automobile tools or dies on hand to pro-
duce 1942 models. They say that now is the time for the
industry to redesign an entirely new car. It is agreed that
industry should swing into action quickly to prevent mass
unemployment after the war. But the point then is made that
consumers may sit tight and refuse to buy a 1942 model car,
after having heard of the "big things" to come. Critics of the
stopgap production plan also warn that if the automobile
companies don't step out with new models other competitors
may beat them to it and cut into their market.
Competition between airplane and automobile companies
will speed the development of a new and better automo-
bile. Teamwork on war production has put plane and auto
companies in one another's "back yards." They may stay
there when the war is over. Airplane engineers may want to
Cars of the 1966*3 59
use their "know how" with plastic panels, light metals, and
compact, powerful engines to produce a light, low-cost car.
Automotive engineers may welcome the chance to show how
low-cost "family-style" planes can be mass-produced for a
postwar civilian market. Both sides also have picked up ideas,
new materials, and methods which they can use in their own
YOUR FLYING FLIVVER
IN LESS than a decade you may be using a small flivver plane,
a helicopter, or an autogiro as often and as nonchalantly as
you have been accustomed in the past to using the "family
bus" for week-end trips and vacation outings. In fact, you
may turn to flying in order to obtain relief from the strain of
driving a car over congested highways.
The mass-production techniques that have been developed
during wartime for the manufacture of a great variety of
planes for war use mean low-cost planes for civilian use later
on. Furthermore, the incessant testing, checking, and remodel-
ing that have been going on during the war, making planes
safer and still safer, mean flying ships for civilians later on
that will be almost foolproof.
Scores of manufacturers already have their designs for
civilian planes on paper. Most of them, such as the Cessna,
Aeronca, Piper Cub, and Taylorcraft, will look something
like the light planes of today. Several of these planes will,
however, have four-wheel landing gear and folding wings so
they can be operated both as a plane and as a car. All of them
will have improved engines for low-cost operation and will
take off and land safely in small areas.
The light plane has been tested in battle and found strictly
A- 1 in performance. "L"-type Grasshoppers (liaison planes
which hedgehop from point to point during battles) are as
versatile and hard to hurt as the Army's jeep. Able to take off
and land on all sorts of terrain, and to duck among trees or
fly slowly to avoid enemy "chicken hawks," the Grasshoppers
Your Flying Flivver 61
are ideal as observation craft. Equipped with two-way radio
and manned by a pilot and observer, the Grasshoppers spot
enemy guns and direct the fire of our artillery. These planes
also can transport men and materials to front-line points which
could not be reached by heavy cargo planes. They have
served successfully as hospital planes for the evacuation of
wounded. Other types of light, unarmored planes are used as
training craft for pilots.
Your First Plane the Helicopter
Unless you are air-minded and have already had some expe-
rience in piloting a plane, your first flying ship may well be a
helicopter. You will regard this rotary- wing craft with affec-
tion and esteem because of the ease and simplicity with which
it can be operated. Its horizontal, revolving blades enable it
to fly straight up, straight down, forward, backward, side-
ways, and to hover stationary in the air like a gnat or hum-
mingbird. It can operate from your back yard, the roof of
an office building, or a side street. Most airplanes are still
demanding creatures when it comes to take-off and landing
space. The helicopter asks no favors. All it requires is space
large enough to contain its structure.
Igor Ivan Sikorsky, the designer of one of the first success-
ful helicopters, contends that it is far simpler to handle than
a plane. "In the conventional craft," he explains, "you can't
make .the controls function effectively for flight under a for-
ward speed of less than 50 or 60 mph. But in the helicopter,
you can stay in one place and learn everything you need to
know in complete safety.
"You can get in your new helicopter, speed up the rotor
blades, and pull the left lift lever, but you don't rise, as you
expect, to a disconcerting height; instead, a cable attached to
the helicopter holds it some four feet above the ground, per-
62 Miracles Ahead!
mitting you safely and easily to study the control movements.
How simple this method of accustoming yourself to flying a
helicopter! And I am certain that flying a direct-lift machine
will become, in time, just as much an automatic habit as driv-
ing your motorcar is now."
How to Fly a Helicopter
The controls of the helicopter are easy to operate. A con-
vertible model, which can be driven like a car, has a clutch
for applying the engine's power to the wheels. Thus you don't
have to push the helicopter out of the garage. You open the
doors and drive it out. Or your garage may have a roll-back
roof so that the helicopter can rise straight up and be on its
There is a tachometer on the instrument panel which counts
the number of revolutions a minute made by the rotor blades.
When you want to ascend you open the throttle and watch
the tachometer until the rotor blades are making two hundred
and forty revolutions a minute. Then you slowly pull the
left-hand lever, which changes the pitch of the rotor blades
so they bite more deeply into the air. The helicopter begins
to rise, and its ascent can be controlled by changing the pitch
of the rotor blades. After you reach the proper altitude you
push a center control stick forward. This stick tilts the rotor
blades slightly. They bite the air in a forward motion and the
helicopter begins to move. Except for ascending and descend-
ing, all movements of the helicopter are controlled by the
When you reach your destination and want to descend
you pull back the center stick. The craft comes to a stop and
hovers over one spot. Then you release the lift lever, the rotor
blades bite less powerfully at the air, and the helicopter sinks
slowly to the earth. You can descend at the rate of one foot
Your Flying Flivver 63
a minute if necessary, and maneuver to the right, left, or back-
ward and forward, by manipulating the center stick. You can
spend as much time as you need in landing, backing up, or
shifting sideways to park in a tight spot.
What about weather conditions? Suppose you run into a
fog? Well, you can descend at a snail's pace to check your
location, and even use a flashlight to study road signs while
the helicopter hovers near the ground. If an obstruction sud-
denly looms up in front of you, a pull on the center stick
and an adjustment of the lift lever permit the helicopter
to climb straight up or settle straight down and avoid a
If your engine quits, a clutch automatically disengages the
rotor blades. They continue to spin by the air pressure, like
the rotor of an autogiro. The spinning blades enable the craft
to descend safely from any altitude. It can glide in any direc-
tion to a desired landing space and then settle the short dis-
tance into it vertically. A heavy snowfall will ground planes
and halt motor traffic, but the helicopter can rise directly
from the snow and go anywhere. An amphibian helicopter,
equipped with rubber pontoons, can land or take off easily
from either water or land.
Sikorsky's First Helicopter
Mr. Sikorsky designed his first helicopter at Kiev, Russia,
in 1908. An extraordinary child-genius, and the son of a pro-
fessor of psychology at Kiev University, the young Russian's
first designs were regarded with interest and curiosity by gov-
ernment officials. He was encouraged to go ahead with his
work. But he had difficulty in obtaining the proper materials,
and when he had finally assembled the odd-looking craft
(contrived of a variety of unorthodox materials) it merely
flopped around like a hen with her head off. He tried again
64 Miracles Ahead!
and failed a second time. When the first world war com-
menced he turned to the designing of huge land planes.
Officials of the War Department remembered the tall blue-
eyed young man from Kiev and, disregarding his tender years,
ordered the construction of four hundred of his bombing
planes. He was then eighteen years old.
Faith in Sikorsky's designs was engendered not merely by
the performance of his model but by his personal history. He
had possessed not only a phenomenal mechanical bent as a
small child but a remarkable intellectual development. He
graduated from college at an age when most youngsters are
still in the preparatory grades. At eighteen he was a mature
and experienced inventor. Faith in his machines proved jus-
tified, for of the four hundred bombers only two were lost
during the war!
When the Revolution of 1917 commenced, Sikorsky came
to America and continued to build successful planes. But he
had not given up his idea for a direct-lift machine. In 1939 his
helicopter flew. By 1943 he had made eighteen major changes
in the craft. The first helicopter carried three forty-six-inch
radius propellers at the tail for control. All three propellers
had variable-pitch blades controllable by the stick in the
cockpit of the craft. In 1941 the main rotor was changed so
that the pitch of the individual blades could be varied as they
passed each side of the ship. Additional work resulted in a
refinement of the main rotor so that the pitch of the individ-
ual blades could be varied throughout its entire circuit. Each
blade can, for example, be made to decrease pitch as it passes
the front of the ship and to increase pitch as it passes over
the tail. This tilts the rotor forward and causes the ship to
move forward. The brilliant engineering work on the main
rotor permitted Sikorsky to eliminate two of the propellers
on the tail of his ship. Only one rotor in addition to the main
one is needed, and it faces sideways at the tail to act as a rud-
Your Flying Flivver 65
der. He is, however still working to make the helicopter more
efficient. In May, 1943, United States patents were issued on
two more designs by Mr. Sikorsky.
War Duties of the Helicopter
The helicopter already has taken over several jobs in this
war, and may prove a decisive weapon against Axis subma-
rines. In April, 1943, Captain Leland P. Lovette, Director of
Public Relations of the Navy, announced that the five-hun-
dred-mile "gap" in the mid- Atlantic where the German sub-
marines have been particularly successful was being patrolled
by ship-based helicopters. This craft can stop in the air
motionless to scout for surfacing U-boats, zigzag around easily
to avoid gunfire, and then drop depth charges on undersea
raiders. Or it can fly at one hundred miles per hour in mak-
ing a patrol from a ship.
In a demonstration on Long Island Sound, May 6-7, 1943,
Colonel H. F. Gregory, of Wright Field, Ohio, made twenty-
four landings and take-offs (some of them backward) from
the deck of a tanker traveling at various speeds. The take-off
space was seventy-eight by forty-eight feet. As a result of
these tests, Rear Admiral Howard L. Vickery, vice-chairman
of the Maritime Commission and Deputy War Shipping
Administrator, said a small deck would be installed on Lib-
erty ships which "will permit helicopters to be used at sea,
thus giving the ships added protection from submarines."
Postwar Tasks of the Helicopter
The Army has ordered three hundred helicopters from the
Sikorsky Division of the United Aircraft Corporation. Officers
believe these rotary-wing craft can serve to spot targets for
the artillery, lay telephone wire over impassable ground, hover
66 Miracles Ahead!
near the ground while careful studies are made of topography,
and rescue persons from crashes in inaccessible places. The
helicopter's work for the Army during the war should speed
the development of a model for civilian use when the war
"The helicopter may be a vital factor in the period of
demobilization of the aircraft industry after the war, permit-
ting the utilization of facilities and the employment of a
gradually increasing part of the trained personnel which will
become available," declares Mr. Sikorsky. "Once they are in
mass production, helicopters will cost about as much as
medium-priced cars, and they are more adaptable to assembly
line methods than the conventional plane."
Mr. Sikorsky visualizes a practical postwar helicopter, seat-
ing from twelve to twenty persons, as an "aerial taxi" which
will meet the larger higher-speed air liners of today at various
terminals and carry passengers to virtually any designated
location. He declared the helicopter has limitless possibilities
as an aerial "commuting" vehicle. If Mr. Sikorsky's ideas are
developed, they will answer the complaint of one business-
man who told of making a four-hour trip by air liner from
Chicago to New York and then spending almost that much
time battling New York City traffic from La Guardia Field
to his home across the Hudson River in New Jersey. The
helicopter's ability to operate in crowded areas, and still avoid
traffic jams, should make it increasingly popular in large cities.
The Sikorsky helicopter is not designed for high-speed,
long-range transportation of heavy loads. It may never carry
more than twelve to twenty persons or their equivalent in
freight. The top speed of the Sikorsky helicopter will prob-
ably be around one hundred and forty to one hundred and
fifty miles per hour. It will, however, take over short hauls of
light freight and express.
"There will be special delivery of perishable food to your
Your Flying Flivver 67
home," declares Mr. Sikorsky. "By the use of a helicopter
shuttle service, oranges that yesterday were on the trees in
Florida and California will be moved today to the big air-
freight terminals and dropped off. They will then reach your
grocer the next day by the freight-helicopter connecting
lines to small centers of the population and from your grocer
they will come to your door by his helicopter service."
It seems more than probable that helicopters will also expe-
dite the settlement of vast areas of land in this country that
are as yet sparsely populated, and incidentally increase the
value of summer-resort property within a radius of three hun-
dred miles of the large cities. That cabin in the mountains
that you would visit more often if the trip did not mean such
a long drive will become accessible within a couple of hours
"I am convinced," Mr. Sikorsky declared, "that within a
decade after the war there will be hundreds of thousands, and
possibly a million, helicopters in actual use in this country."
This prediction seems reasonable enough considering that
Mr. Sikorsky is making it about a machine of his own design.
It is well known among designers that Sikorsky has a mania
about making his planes safe to fly. This is nothing new. He
was fuming and fretting about adding safety measures and
devices to his huge land planes back in the early days of the
first World War when most designers were still congratulat-
ing themselves that the flying machine would actually stay in
the air for a reasonable period. Evidences of this fetish are to
be found in every plane he ever designed, including the fighter
The De Bothezat Helicopter
Stranger-looking and more revolutionary in design than
Sikorsky's helicopter is the new-type helicopter designed and
68 Miracles Ahead!
built by George de Bothezat, the Russian-born inventor who
built the world's first successful man-carrying helicopter, in
1922, for the United States Army.
De Bothezat's all-metal ship, the GB-5, has twin rotors
which turn in opposite directions. They are placed one above
the other with the motor between them. The coaxial rotors
overcome the tendency of the body of the plane to spin and
no tail rotor is required for steering or counteracting torque.
The controls determine the plane's direction and attitude
of flight in the same manner as do those of the Sikorsky-
designed helicopter. The advantage of the De Bothezat craft
lies in its greater lifting power, which, understandably, in-
creases with the number of lifting surfaces. There appears to
be no reason why the De Bothezat helicopter cannot be made
to travel as fast as any conventional airplane of equal capacity.
It is reasonable to suppose that multirotored ships, incorpo-
rating the De Bothezat design, can be built to carry three hun-
dred passengers at a speed of three hundred and fifty miles
William B. Stout, director of research for Consolidated
Vultee, has designed three distinct types of aircraft for post-
war civilian use, among them his "Helicab" of helicopter
design. This flying flivver will be about twenty-five feet long,
six feet wide, and eight feet high. The rounded plastic nose
of the teardrop-shaped fuselage will enable the passengers
two to five to see out on all sides. Its one hundred and
twenty-five horsepower engine will be of conventional design
but lighter in weight. Torque will be counteracted by the
rotation of a vertically mounted propeller on the tail. As in
any other helicopter, direction of flight will be controlled by
adjusting the pitch of the main rotor. However, a simplified
Your Flying Flivver 69
method of changing the blade angle is featured in Stout's
"What is the difference between the autogiro and the heli-
copter?" you may wonder.
The autogiro has a propeller in front like an ordinary plane,
plus wings on top which revolve as the propeller pulls the
plane through the air. These wings revolve solely as the result
of the plane's motion through the air. The helicopter has no
propeller in front. Its engine is attached directly to the blades
on top, which enable it to ascend and descend vertically. The
autogiro is easier to Candle than the conventional plane. It
takes off and lands in small places. But it is not as controllable
as the helicopter.
The Pitcairn-Larsen Autogiro Company manufactures a
craft that takes a smooth hop, skip, and jump in getting off
the ground. If the motor fails, the revolving blades let the
plane down gently. These blades can also be folded back to
convert the autogiro into a passenger car.
Proponents of the Convertaplane say that everything we
have written about the helicopter is doubly true of this half-
helicopter-half-plane invented and developed by Gerard P.
Herrick, noted aeronautical engineer and instructor in the
United States Army Air Corps during the first World War.
Like the helicopter, the Convertaplane will hover in mid-
air, climb straight up, or settle slowly down; but it will also
convert from a rotary- wing craft to a three hundred-mile-an-
hour airplane in mid-air. The Convertaplane looks like the
conventional biplane, but there is a big difference. The slim
70 Miracles Ahead!
upper wing can be released for rotation like the blades of the
helicopter. This upper wing is specially designed so that when
whirling it presents the same shape in cross section both com-
ing and going. The newest Convertaplane design eliminates
the bottom wing thus making the ship a full-fledged helicop-
ter when the rotor wing is turning, and an airplane with no
trace of helicopter about it when the rotor wing is locked
crosswise for high-speed flight. Future models of this ship also
will be equipped so they can be converted into an automobile
for short trips about town.
Mr. Herrick promises that the postwar Convertaplane will
let you have your cake and eat it too. You might want a
high-speed plane for cross-country trips, while your wife
argues for a helicopter to use for shopping trips and visits to
friends in the next county. Both can be satisfied by this half-
New Light Planes
Like the many thousands of young fliers in the armed forces
who will be returning to civilian life after the war, you may
prefer a regular plane for pleasure flying and your chief
interest in a "flying flivver" is price.
William Stout believes the low-cost plane depends on the
development of a hundred-dollar, hundred-horsepower, hun-
dred-pound aviation engine with cylinders arranged in the
"flat-opposed" style for greater streamlining. Stout proposes
a two-speed propeller to help the engine get the plane into
the air quickly. Combat planes use adjustable-pitch hydro-
matic or electric propellers, which are about as complicated
as an ordinary auto engine and hence too expensive for the
low-cost, light plane.
W. T. Piper, of the Piper Aircraft Company, favors lower-
powered engines of fifty to ninety horsepower, which will
Your Flying Flivver 71
permit the construction of low-cost airplanes priced at a dol-
lar a pound 2,000 pound plane, $2,000; 1,000 pound plane,
$1,000. He argues that you will get plenty of speed, as well
as low operating cost, with a low-powered engine, if the
plane itself is properly streamlined to reduce costly drag. He
estimates that a retractable landing gear, which draws the
wheels inside the wings, will increase the plane's speed by
twenty to thirty miles per hour. In the past only a few makers
of light planes have installed retractable landing gears because
of their expense. But mass-production methods will greatly
reduce the cost per plane.
Stout's Sky Cars
In addition to the "Helicab," William Stout has drawn up
plans for two new light planes the "Readable Airplane" and
the "Aerocar," mass production of which is anticipated after
The Roadable Airplane is intended for distance flights cou-
pled with short trips on the ground. It will weigh no more
than eight hundred pounds, have a thirty-foot wingspread,
and be capable of taking four-hundred-mile cross-country
hops. Since the Roadable Airplane is primarily an airplane and
not a car, its best performance will be attained in flight. There
it will reach speeds of one hundred and twenty miles per hour,
while on the ground its speed will perhaps be limited to thirty-
five miles per hour.
The unique feature of the Roadable Airplane is that the
wings can be folded back on landing. In case the pilot should
run into bad weather, he can simply convert his plane into an
automobile and hug the ground until the skies are clear.
The Aerocar is designed as the flying family automobile for
tours and trips. Different from the Roadable Airplane, it is
not primarily an airplane but a car that flies. It will weigh
72 Miracles Ahead!
about fifteen hundred pounds, have a standard sixty-inch
wheel tread, and do sixty to seventy miles per hour on the
highway. The body will be transparent to give the passengers
it will carry three a complete view on all sides.
When a person wishes to take to the air, he backs the
Aerocar into the garage and attaches its combined wing and
outrigger tail assembly. A pusher propeller is mounted at the
rear. Once in the air, the plane will reach a speed of one hun-
dred miles per hour, consuming the same amount of fuel as it
would at sixty miles per hour on the ground. It will be able
to cruise for a distance of two hundred and fifty miles. This
will undoubtedly be the first airplane to be equipped with
Neither the Readable Airplane nor the Aerocar will be as
practicable in congested city areas as the Helicab, but each
will find its use.
Simplified Flying Techniques
All designers agree on the importance of designing a "fool-
proof" plane that will behave itself under all sorts of condi-
tions. Of course, if a person is a poor automobile driver he
will be unhappy in a plane. But if he can handle his car skill-
fully he will be able to fly well. W. T. Piper promises that
the light plane will be practically foolproof "but not darn-
A plane's control system directs the course of the ship by
changing the position of parts of the wings or the tail so the
air strikes them at a different angle. This permits the plane to
change direction about any of its three axes vertical, longi-
The sideways motion of the plane about its vertical axis is
controlled by the rudder on the tail. Pressure on the foot
pedals moves the rudder, causes the air to blow the tail to one
Your Flying flivver 73
side or the other, and makes the nose of the plane swing
toward the side on which pressure is applied.
The banking, or rolling, motion of the plane about its longi-
tudinal axis is controlled by the ailerons on the wings. A side-
ward movement of the stick operates the ailerons, causes the
air to push one wing down and the other up; and the plane
banks in the direction that the stick was moved.
The up-and-down motion of the plane, or motion about its
lateral axis, is controlled by the elevators on the tail. A for-
ward movement of the stick moves the elevators down. The
air pushes the tail up and the nose goes down. A backward
movement of the stick moves the elevators up. The air pushes
the tail down, and the nose rises.
Coordinated movements of the rudder, elevators, and ail-
erons can put the plane in any desired attitude. Learning to
fly is merely the development of skill in smoothly blending
the control pressures on stick and rudder pedals to direct the
course of the plane. This is easy to say and hard for some
pilots to do. If they are heavy-handed, or timid, in handling
the stick the plane will do all sorts of disconcerting things.
The plane is like a trained horse in that it wants to feel that
the person in charge really knows his business.
Each time the pilot uses one control he must carefully
adjust some other control or the plane misbehaves. Use of the
stick to bank the plane to the right or left will cause the nose
of the plane to slew annoyingly in the opposite direction
unless proper adjustments are made with the pedals control-
ling the rudder on the tail. For a left turn, for example, a
slight pressure is applied to left rudder to start the nose swing-
ing and, at the same time, the stick is pressed to the left to
bank the plane. When the desired degree of bank has been
reached, rudder pressure is relaxed and the stick returned to
neutral position. The plane will continue the turn. Recovery
is effected by pressing right rudder and bringing the stick
74 Miracles Ahead!
to the right. Controls are again returned to neutral as the ship
resumes its level flight attitude.
If you own one of the new light planes of tomorrow you
won't have to worry much about the above information.
These planes including the Ercoupe, produced by Engi-
neering and Research Corporation, and the Skyfarer, built by
the General Aircraft Corporation provide a wheel control
which makes the ailerons and the rudder function together in
a coordinated manner. The problem of banking the plane is
solved by a simple twist of the wheel. This means that you
will be able to learn to fly with greater ease and with little
wear and tear on the nerves.
The first rule of the air is to maintain flying speed. The
plane's wings provide lift, and if the plane slows down too
much the wings don't catch the air at the proper angle. This
causes the plane to stall (fall rapidly from lack of flying
speed). Many accidents are caused by a too-slow landing
approach if a plane stalls at an altitude of fifty feet the
pilot's chances of avoiding a crash are about zero. This danger
is largely avoided by the new light planes. They will be
equipped with wing flaps, which increase the lift of the wing
and also act as air brakes to slow the landing speed. Tricycle
and four-wheel landing gears will further reduce the chances
for accidents. They will provide better visibility for take-offs
and landings, keep the plane rolling straight on the ground,
and eliminate the danger of somersaults.
Safety at Night
One of the toughest problems faced by a pilot is that of
knowing the right height at which to cut his engine for a
landing. This is particularly difficult if he is coming in over
a darkened field. An invention on which a United States pat-
ent was granted in 1943 should permit landings to be made
Your Flying Flivver 75
with greater safety. This device uses two beam-projecting
lamps under the fuselage to tell the pilot when he is in the cor-
rect position for a landing. A rear lamp points to the rear. They
are adjusted so that the point at which the beams cross, merg-
ing to form a single spot of light on the ground, is the correct
height for the pilot to set his plane down. A mirror at the side
of the cabin enables the pilot to pick up the two spots and
to follow them until finally they blend into one. If they sepa-
rate again, it is a sign that either the ground level or the
plane's altitude has changed. So the pilot knows that he had
better try again for a new landing approach.
IN TOMORROW'S "Age of Air" all distances between places will
be measured in terms of hours instead of miles. No place on
earth will be more than forty-eight hours from your local air-
port. You will be able to spend your vacations in foreign
lands that heretofore you may have seen only on motion-
picture screens India, Egypt, Australia, Argentina, China.
And the cost of such a vacation will be somewhat less than it
now costs you to travel to the other side of the United States.
You may go off on this world jaunt in a super-Clipper that
houses one hundred and twenty passengers in the plane's wing.
Sixty people could be comfortably accommodated in the
dining salon, on the observation deck, and the promenade,
and in the cocktail lounge. The plane would have a range of
five thousand miles at a cruising speed of three hundred miles
per hour. The engines would be placed within the structure
so that they could be serviced or repaired while the plane was
in flight. The super-Clipper would carry a crew of sixteen.
Just before the war began, Pan American Airlines launched
a program for the construction of fifty giant Clippers, each
capable of carrying one hundred and fifty-three passengers.
The line anticipated a New York-to-London flight in ten
hours at a one-way fare of one hundred dollars for each
Glenn L. Martin, president of the Glenn L. Martin Co.,
has designed a 250,000 pound airplane with six or more
engines for trans-Atlantic service. It would carry a pay load
of fifty thousand pounds the equivalent of one hundred pas-
Global Transportation 77
sengers with eighty pounds of baggage apiece, plus twenty-
five thousand pounds of mail, cargo, and express. He esti-
mates that the plane would make the trip from New York
to London in thirteen hours with the wind, and in nineteen
hours against the wind.
The plane would have almost all the comforts of a luxury
liner equipped with showers and baths, a lounge where
games could be played, and observation rooms.
An idea of the tremendous size of the 250,000 pound plane
is gained by a study of another Martin plane, the 140,000
pound Mars Flying Boat, which was built for the United
States Navy. The Mars was originally designed as a patrol
bomber, but has been converted for cargo use. It has four
Wright Cyclone engines, and its fuel capacity is about a tank-
The flight deck of the Mars is larger than the interior of
a twenty-one-passenger airliner. Auxiliary motors drive eight
generators supplying electricity, and there are twenty-four
telephone stations on the plane for the crew of eleven men.
Each of the Mars' twin rudders is twice as tall as a tall man,
and between them are thirty-foot elevators. Each aileron is
longer than the entire wing span of an average fighter
The f arsighted designer of the Mars is confident that domes-
tic air travel will boom when the war is over. "But the spec-
tacular development will be in the ocean field the field of
flying ships that will grow larger and larger. With them we
shall rehabilitate a weary world, draw it closer together,
re-establish the broken threads of commerce, cross the last
frontiers of isolation." He added, "There is no technical limit
to the size of planes; the only limit is the amount of payload
available. We should be able to build 5oo,ooo-pound air-
planes in a few years."
W. W. Davies, research engineer of United Airlines, wants
78 Miracles Ahead!
the aviation industry to strike out and design a new and much
larger luxury air liner for domestic passenger service. He
envisions a four-engined, sixty-three-and-one-half-ton passen-
ger plane with a cruising speed of two hundred and sixty-six
miles per hour and a range of twenty-five hundred miles. Its
engines would probably produce three thousand horsepower
each. By day this de luxe plane would seat one hundred pas-
sengers and at night would have sleeping accommodations for
fifty-six. There would be a comfortable lounge for passengers.
This engineer also predicts the development of another
four-engined forty-ton plane which would offer service com-
parable to that in "club" or better-class railway-coach travel
and would make more stops than the de luxe plane. Finally
Mr. Davies favors the construction of a twenty-one-ton, twin-
engined plane to serve as a "variable load carrier." It would
carry either passengers or cargo or both, and operate on
feeder lines running from small towns and cities to the main
routes of the air lines. A bulkhead would divide the passenger
and cargo space in this plane and could be adjusted accord-
ing to the number of passengers or cargo to be carried.
Edward Warner, vice-chairman of the Civil Aeronautics
Board, agrees that passengers are likely to prefer one hundred-
passenger planes to those carrying only twenty-five. But he
warns that the larger planes will reduce the flexibility of the
air lines' service. He explains that four twenty-five-passenger
planes can give one hundred passengers nonstop service to
four different points, while one one hundred-passenger giant
can give nonstop service to only one point.
Mr. Warner also contends that the length of nonstop flights
and the speed of air liners must be carefully considered if
air lines want to cut passenger fares to three cents a mile or
less. A six hundred-mile flight can be made at an operating
cost of twenty-two cents a ton-mile, whereas a two thousand-
mile flight costs thirty cents per ton-mile mainly because of
Global Transportation 79
the extra load of gasoline which must be carried. The most
economical air speed at moderate altitudes, he adds, is likely
to remain below one hundred and eighty miles per hour.
A four-hour flight from Chicago to New York costs forty
dollars, while a two-hour flight would cost sixty dollars. Mr.
Warner wonders whether people will pay an extra twenty
dollars to save two hours' flying time.
Manufacturers have different ideas about the size of future
sky liners. One concrete piece of evidence is the huge four
hundred-passenger craft of Consolidated Vultee. A mock up
of this plane has been built, and the problems of constructing
such a giant air liner are being solved by Consolidated engi-
New Shipping Centers
The flat mercator-type map no longer tells the story of dis-
tances in the coming Age of Air. On this map the shortest
route between Washington and Tokyo appears to lie close
to San Francisco. Pilots know, however, that the shortest
route is a "Great Circle" course which passes over the Great
Lakes, across Canada, and skirts Siberia. And the shortest
route from Washington to Moscow via the "Great Circle"
course just misses Greenland. Because the world's most impor-
tant nations lie in the Northern Hemisphere, these "Great
Circle" routes pass near or across the North Pole. The icy
Arctic regions will become the "crossroads of commerce" in
the postwar Age of Air.
"When we use the globe and 'Great Circle' measurements,"
says Colonel Edward S. Evans, president of Evans Products
Company, "we find the Arctic Ocean, not the Atlantic, is the
sea to be flown over. The Arctic becomes a Mediterranean
between the Eastern and Western hemispheres. Chicago,
Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and other western cities are
80 Miracles Ahead!
going to come into their own as great shipping centers and 1
can vision the day when America will have a great port in
Alaska which will supersede in importance our present great
shipping centers. It could be the New York of tomorrow."
C. Bedell Monro, president of Pennsylvania Central Air-
lines, would not use long-range super-Clippers for trans-
Atlantic service. He contends that high-speed passenger travel
across the Atlantic would be made safer and less expensive
by the building of a "seadrome" route between the United
States and Great Britain. Penn Central has filed with the CAB
an application to fly the route, in which three steel floating
islands would be spaced at eight hundred-mile intervals across
the Atlantic. The three "man-made islands" would each cost
ten million dollars.
Mr. Monro asserts that the short eight hundred-mile hop
between the seadromes means vastly increased passenger and
cargo-carrying capacity because less gasoline would have to
be carried. Two- or four-engined planes carrying forty-two
to seventy-two passengers could be used. Only the same
amount of gasoline would be required that now is used in
making jumps of equal length overland. Passenger rates per
mile, therefore, would be about the same.
The seadrome was invented by Edward R. Armstrong, a
construction engineer of Philadelphia. Each "island" would
stand seventy feet above sea level, and floats one hundred and
sixty feet beneath the water would keep the seadrome "as
steady as the mainland itself," said Mr. Armstrong. Each sea-
drome, weighing sixty-four thousand tons, would have com-
plete airport and refueling facilities and a hotel where a
traveler could stay if he wanted to wait for a later plane.
The Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Company maintains that
Global Transportation 81
it will construct the seadromes just as soon as steel is available.
Associated with the Sun Corporation are United States Steel
Corporation, the Wirth Steel Company, the Belmont Iron
Works, and John A. Roebling Company.
Penn Central wishes to fly the route, but Mr. Monro
stressed the fact that all air lines even private flyers would
be permitted to use the seadromes. "Our seadrome idea has
been proved sound," he added, "and we hope to get permis-
sion to install them as soon as victory has been won. Immediate
postwar employment for thousands in the steel mills and ship-
building yards, in their construction and transportation to
fixed points at sea, will result. When successfully installed and
in operation the seadromes will give valuable aid to shipping
by providing hour-by-hour weather reports and forecasts
never before obtainable. Light planes for iceberg spotting also
could operate from the seadromes. Plans no doubt will be
developed for more and more of them for the Caribbean,
Pacific, South Atlantic and everywhere they can be put to
good use and for use of all."
In the not-too-distant future, passenger-carrying strato-
liners that fly at forty thousand feet, far above storms and
dangerous icing regions, will be used extensively for global
service. A number of new inventions now make this type of
service feasible. One is a device patented April, 1943, that
prevents the formation of ice on the leading edges of wings
and propellers. It mounts a pair of infrared radiators on the
sides of the plane's nose. They are focused to throw their
beams on the leading edges of the wings. This "sun-lamp"
treatment keeps the wings warmed above the icing tempera-
ture at all times. (The most dangerous temperatures for the
formation of ice on airplanes are those between 20 and 34
82 Miracles Ahead!
degrees Fahrenheit.) Smaller radiators are recessed in the pro-
peller hub to keep the blades free of ice.
Another invention long in use but now more highly devel-
oped is the supercharger.
If you have ever been on a high mountain you will remem-
ber that the "thinness" of the air forced you to breathe harder
and deeper. The lungs are flexible enough to make it possible,
within certain limits, to compensate for the thinness of the
air and get enough oxygen by breathing in more air. This is
nature's way of "supercharging" the human engine.
To understand the all-important supercharger we should
first remember that we live at the bottom of a vast ocean of
air. Since the pressure of the air upon the outside of our bod-
ies is equalized by the internal pressures of the body, we often
forget that air has weight and exercises pressure. Designers of
internal-combustion engines are very much aware that the air
exerts a pressure of fourteen and seven-tenths pounds per
square inch at sea level.
Because the air at higher altitudes contains less oxygen per
cubic foot, and there is less pressure available for pushing the
air into the cylinders, the power of a gasoline engine declines
in relation to altitude. At twenty thousand feet a cubic foot
of air weighs only about half as much as a cubic foot at sea
level. If the engine is to get the same air pressure at twenty
thousand feet as at sea level, we must give it twice as much of
the thinner air. This is what the supercharger does. When the
engine "gets out of breath" at high altitudes the supercharger
forces extra air into its cylinders.
The turbosupercharger was perfected by Dr. Sanford B.
Moss of General Electric. Since one part of the device oper-
ates in an arctic sixty-below-zero while the other spins in a
blistering 1,500 degrees of heat, the turbosupercharger is an
Global Transportation 83
High-altitude planes are greatly aided by hydromatic or
electrically controlled propellers, which automatically control
the pitch of the blades to permit the engine to operate at its
greatest efficiency. For take-off the blade pitch is low to let
the engine attain full power. In high pitch the blades bite into
the air at a greater angle, and thus maintain thrust in thinner
air. The high-pitch blades also prevent overspeeding of the
engine when the plane is in level flight.
The speed at which the tip of the propeller blade turns must
be kept below the speed of sound about seven hundred and
fifty miles per hour or there will be an enormous increase
in drag. The air fails to behave in its usual manner. The pres-
sure generated at the forward point cannot get out of the
way and so must be carried along by the moving object. To
make it possible for both the propeller and the engine to turn
at their most suitable speeds, a set of reduction gears is built
into the nose section of the engine. The gears slow down the
propeller to fifty to seventy-five revolutions for each one
hundred of the engine.
How can the pilot of a high-altitude plane be protected?
We have noted that a person's lungs are flexible enough for
him to compensate for the thinness of air at high altitudes by
breathing in more air. This "supercharging" operation works
satisfactorily within certain limits. A healthy pilot has no
trouble getting enough air in his lungs at ten thousand feet.
But at twelve thousand feet a mask is needed to supply oxy-
gen or the flyer loses efficiency. Because of the reduced air
pressure, the higher the pilot goes the more need there is for
oxygen to keep him normal. Above twenty-five thousand feet
the air is so thin that it is impossible to whistle. At thirty-three
thousand feet the pilot must be breathing 100 per cent pure
oxygen or he will die.
If the pilot continues to go higher, he does not get enough
84 Miracles Ahead!
oxygen even though he is breathing pure oxygen. This hap-
pens because the pressure above thirty-three thousand feet is
so low that the lungs cannot breathe in enough oxygen even
from a pure supply. At thirty thousand feet the air pres-
sure is only 30 per cent of what it is at sea level, and only 19
per cent of the pressure at forty thousand. At sixty thousand
feet the boiling point is so low that blood boils.
At around 35,300 feet (the tropopause) the temperature
becomes fixed at 67 degrees below zero. This upper region of
the atmosphere is known as the stratosphere. It is a "weather-
less" region, free from clouds and with no strong vertical air
In 1936 Squadron Leader Swain of the R.A.F. conquered
the stratosphere. He reached an altitude of 49,144 feet, wear-
ing a pressure suit made of rubberized fabric with a rubber
helmet. A pump kept the suit inflated with pure oxygen at the
proper pressure. Flight Lieutenant Adam of the R.A.F. later
flew to 53,937 feet using the same suit, and in 1938 an Italian
aviator set a world record of 56,047.
The pressure suit has the advantage of adding little weight
to the plane; but the suit still does not supply adequate pres-
sure with full efficiency, and the pilot is so bundled up that
his movements are awkward.
In 1937 the United States Army developed the first success-
ful pressure cabin and took attention away from the pressure
suit. The pressure cabin is ideal for the crew. An aviator's
movements are not hampered by a bundlesome pressure suit.
The Boeing Stratoliner a commercial adaptation of the
Flying Fortress was equipped with a pressurized cabin for
transcontinental flights at twenty thousand feet and for Pan
American's fast flights over the Andes in South America.
The pressurized cabin did, however, have a serious defect
for military use. A few bullets could destroy the effect of the
, Global Transportation 85
pressure cabin and knock out the crew. Work is being rushed
to make pressure cabins bullet-sealing like the fuel tanks of
During the Battle of Britain the late Sir Frederick Banting,
codiscoverer of insulin, said, "Whichever power gets up to
40,000 feet first and can stay there longest with the heaviest
guns will win the war." Early in 1943 there were indications
that the Germans were ready to make a desperate bid for
aerial supremacy with fighter planes equipped with pressurized
cabins. In November, 1942, the British reported that a Ger-
man reconnaissance plane was shot down by a Spitfire at fifty
thousand feet. The installation of heavy pressurized cabins
on light fighter planes is considered an outstanding achieve-
ment. Experts, however, believe that these cabins will be
used more extensively on huge new bombers. There have
been frequent reports that the Army is preparing to bring
out a giant bomber that will be able to carry destruction to
the enemy at altitudes far beyond the reach of antiaircraft
defenses and fighter planes. In hinting of the new bomber
General H. H. Arnold, Air Forces Commander, remarked
that the 6-24 Liberators and the B-iy Flying Fortresses were
the "last of the small bombers"! 1
Public confidence in the safety and efficiency of air trans-
port will bring a vast expansion of air-cargo business in post-
war years. All forms of transportation have found that while
1 The New York Times reported from Washington on November 4,
1943, that the "final test" of the Army's new superbomber, the 6-29, "is not
now far distant," according to General H. H. Arnold. The 6-29 was devel-
oped by Boeing, the originator of the B-iy Flying Fortress. General Arnold
said the 6-29 "will have a range substantially greater than the maximum
effective range of today's longest-range heavy bombers."
86 Miracles Ahead!
passenger revenue was considered the main source of income
at first freight revenue eventually exceeded it. In 1941 about
5 per cent of the air lines' revenue came from air express
or around i per cent of the railway express shipped. Thus the
air lines' express business can be greatly expanded and still
not make too much of a cut in railroad business.
The case of the airplane as a cargo carrier is one of simple
arithmetic according to Wolfgang Langewiesche. "An air-
plane can make 20 round trips while ground transport makes
one," he explains. "One ton of cargo space in an airplane is
therefore worth 20 in a train or a truck, even without count-
ing the value of time saved for the load. Between Burma and
Chungking, where road transport was difficult but where
cost was not counted, a Douglas transport was considered
equivalent to 137 trucks. Between New York and Chicago
the same sort of arithmetic holds true; mass transport is pos-
sible by air because the airplane is a fast worker."
Charles Froesch, chief engineer of Eastern Airlines, adds
that "a cargo airplane should be a vehicle to carry merchan-
dise not only at the lowest possible cost, but at the highest
possible speed, as speed is the commodity which is paid for in
air transportation." Noting that first-class rail express costs
ten to twelve cents per ton mile, Mr. Froesch said the total
cost of airplane shipping after the war would be brought "well
below 1 5 cents per ton mile."
Rapid peacetime progress in the cargo- and passenger-plane
field will be possible because of the powerful engines and
other equipment produced during World War II. The horse-
power of one of the three standard engines now used in our
Army fighting planes has been increased more than 30 per
cent since 1939 without any increase in the size of the engine
and with a sharp reduction in the weight per horsepower.
These engines all will provide high take-oif power to get
planes in the air with heavy loads, low fuel consumption at
Global Transportation 87
cruising speed for economy of operation, and low weight per
The Army's Air Transport Command
Foreshadowing the cargo-carrying wings of the future is
the Army's Air Transport Command. It is bigger than all the
prewar air lines of the world combined, as to both route-miles
flown and loads carried.
The ATC establishes and maintains bases wherever neces-
sary for the transportation by air of cargo, personnel, and
mail both within the United States and abroad. In early 1943
ATC's planes were operating over more than ninety thou-
sand miles of transport routes, which were being extended as
fighting fronts required more supplies in a hurry.
All sorts of cargoes are carried by the ATC. In cases of
emergency, light tanks and jeeps are transported across the
oceans by air. About the bulkiest objects commonly carried
are airplane engines. These and plane parts of all kinds are
frequently handled by ATC planes. Speed is the keynote of
ATC operations. One ATC plane flew from Australia to
California in the record flying time of thirty-three hours and
twenty-seven minutes. Medical supplies and blood plasma are
flown to their destinations. A complete hospital was flown to
Alaska in thirty-six hours, replacing one that had burned to
Planes which fly vital war supplies to the fighting fronts
usually do not return empty-handed. They come back loaded
with strategic materials for war industry. Planes have brought
block mica from India; platinum from the Persian Gulf; beryl
ore, quartz crystals, industrial diamonds, and mica from South
Africa. Crude rubber has been flown from Brazil and balsa
wood from Central America. A certain type of Fiji Island
beetle was "drafted" and flown to Honduras to make war on
88 Miracles Ahead!
a root weevil attacking hemp. Planes also bring back wounded
men from combat zones. Several seriously wounded men were
transported from India to Washington in five days, a distance
of more than ten thousand miles.
The Naval Air Transport Service
The Naval Air Transport Service, like the ATC, borrowed
much of its personnel and operating procedure from com-
mercial air lines. The NATS is operating several hundred
planes, including many flying boats, over fifty thousand route
miles. The most marked difference between the Army and
Navy transport services is in the Navy's use of flying boats
for cargo and personnel transport including the evacuation
of wounded from battle areas.
Strange cargoes also are carried by NATS tons of rubber
seeds from Liberia for planting in South America, blood
plasma to New Guinea in three or four days. One of the
NATS's outstanding jobs is transporting repair parts to battle-
damaged submarines in distant waters, thus permitting them
to get back in action in a few days instead of being idle for
a month or more.
Speedier Loading Techniques
William A. Lippman, Jr., former manager of freight and
express for Western Air Lines, feels that "for obvious rea-
sons" the three or four cargo types now being produced for
the military will form the equipment backlog for air-freight
operators for a considerable period after the war.
He warns, however, that the operator "who, by virtue of
a desire to be first in the field, finds himself with a fleet of
-46, C-47, or C-54 planes will find difficulty in bringing his
costs into line with the public demand for competitive air
Global Transportation 89
freight rates unless he can cut his ground time losses to the
barest minimum, for time is the essence of all things."
Mr. Lippman says that "when the chips are down" the
operator who keeps his planes in the air for the greatest num-
ber of hours out of each twenty-four will be the man who
rakes in the pot. He revealed that observations made at an
airfield where the ground time of planes averaged one hour
indicated that only twenty minutes was needed to move the
cargo into and out of the plane. The remaining forty minutes
was used by four experienced handlers in unlashing and lash-
ing cargo to the walls and deck with ropes.
Consider what that forty minutes cost the operator. A
Douglas C-47 plane hauling an average pay load of 6,000
pounds at 180 miles per hour has a value of 540 ton-miles per
hour as a commercial carrier (3 tons x 180 mph). At present
air-express rates, the earning power of the -47 is $432 per
hour; so each cargo would then cost $100 just to be made
secure without reckoning the handlers' salaries.
The above figures on ton-miles and earnings per hour ex-
plain why airplane designers and air-transport officials are
interested in designing new cargo planes that will cut the time
lost in loading and unloading. Some of these experts favor a
high- wing, twin-engined monoplane (the C-j6 Caravan is of
this type) built around a cargo space of at least 25x8x8 feet
a railroad boxcar is about 40 x 9 x 9.
Charles H. Babb, well-known aircraft broker, who can tell
at any moment where most of the world's nonmilitary planes
are, who owns them, and what shape they are in, has designed
a cargo plane that is almost a freight car with wings. Loading
and unloading the Babb plane would be facilitated by hav-
ing a removable nose with a ramp for the landing of heavy
mining machinery, trucks, and other bulky freight.
Harlan D. Fowler, who invented the Fowler flap to give
greater lift to a plane's wing, has designed a cargo plane made
90 Miracles Ahead!
of five separate and detachable cargo containers. Each con-
tainer would hold one thousand pounds of freight, and any or
all of them could be lifted from the plane by hoists and new
ones put in place for a trip to another city.
In mid- 1 943 work was proceeding on the much-publicized
Kaiser-Hughes H-Ki Flying Boat. This giant all-plywood
ship of 400,000 pounds gross weight will have eight engines,
a fuel capacity of 8,000 gallons, 120,000 pounds cargo capac-
ity, and a cruising speed of 174 miles per hour.
In designing cargo planes of the future, aeronautical engi-
neers will be guided by this rule: the larger the plane the
greater the percentage of pay load for the same proportion
of horsepower. The load capacity of small planes is only about
25 per cent, while the load capacity of giant planes may run
to 40 per cent.
Glider "Freight Trains"
The use of cargo gliders towed by "locomotive planes" is
expected to double an airplane's transport capacity, sharply
reduce freight and express rates, and cut the time needed to
load and unload cargo.
Grover Loening, consulting engineer of the Grumman Air-
craft Corporation and a recipient of a Distinguished Service
Award for the design and completion of the Loening two-
seater fighter plane, contends that the use of the glider and
the glider train "is probably the most significant development
of all the recent items that have led to more and more effi-
cient load-carrying on aircraft.
"Gliders are the freight trains of the air," he adds. "They
give a versatility in the picking up and delivery of cargoes
and passengers. We can visualize a locomotive plane leaving
La Guardia Field towing a train of six gliders in the very near
future. By the use of the glider system of carrying loads,
Global Transportation 91
the cargo capacity of a DC-3, for example, would be dou-
"By having the load thus divided it would be practical to
unhitch the glider that must come down in Philadelphia as
the train flies over that place similarly unhitching the loaded
gliders for Washington, for Richmond, for Charleston, for
Jacksonville, as each city is passed and finally the air loco-
motive itself lands in Miami. During that process it has not
had to make any intermediate landings, so that it has not had
to slow down."
The savings in the cost of landings and take-offs of a heavy,
powerful plane would be considerable. Three gliders plus the
air locomotive would carry something like 190,000 pounds of
freight at a speed of about one hundred and twenty to one
hundred and fifty miles per hour.
Since it has no motor and propellers, the glider can be
shaped so its nose resistance is one-third that of an airplane.
The glider can be built much lighter, but its weight-carrying
capacity would be approximately twice that of the transport
plane. The weight of fuel, engines, and the heavier bracing in
the transport plane could be replaced by pay load in the
glider. Gliders can easily be pulled off the ground by their
locomotive plane. They are safely in the air before the tow
plane has left the ground. Army tests have proved that gliders
can be taken in tow by the locomotive plane even though the
plane itself is already in the air. The tow plane swoops down,
hooks the towing cable of the glider, and pulls it gently off
"A few basic figures will give a fairly good concept of the
advantages of this modern means of transportation," states
Colonel Edward S. Evans. "The average train of loaded box
cars carries 2,000 tons of freight at 25 miles an hour. Seven
glider trains could deliver the same freight in one-tenth the
time or, to express it differently, seven glider trains could
92 Miracles Ahead!
deliver ten times as much freight as a railroad train in the
same length of time. And the cargo will remain in much bet-
ter condition since it will not be subjected to the shocks of
switching and shunting."
Glider enthusiasts venture to predict that glider trains may
lower air-freight rates to as little as three cents a ton-mile,
and predict wide postwar use of this craft for passenger- as
well as freight-carrying purposes. But the entire aviation in-
dustry is not in agreement on the glider's future. Some experts
say the glider will be less important over long ranges in cargo
carrying on a large scale. Some companies have, however,
filed an application with the CAB for cargo-carrying air serv-
ice which will use glider towing by aircraft.
On July 4, 1943, the R.A.F. disclosed that the first "air-
train" flight across the Atlantic had been made. A fully loaded
glider carrying vaccines for Russia, and radio, aircraft, and
motor parts, was towed thirty-five hundred miles from Mon-
treal to England in twenty-eight hours. The R.A.F. Trans-
port Command provided the officers and crews for this historic
flight, but the equipment was American-made.
The glider "Voo-Doo" with an eighty-four-foot wing-
spread was piloted by Squadron Leader R. G. Seys, holder
of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The tow plane was a twin-
engined Douglas transport.
"One of the things that gave us the greatest satisfaction
about our glider crossing of the Atlantic," remarked Squadron
Leader Seys, "is that the critics have been confounded. Few
people had much faith in glider flying. These were so few,
indeed, that bets of 5-to-i were being offered against a suc-
cessful flight bets which none of us took. To be candid, I
was more than somewhat frightened at the prospect of the
tremendous haul before us. This was soon banished by the
thrill of getting away according to plan."
Global Transportation 93
The Rocket Motor
Reports from Britain say that the Nazis use rocket power to
get JU-88's off the ground with a three thousand-pound over-
load. The rockets are carried under the fuselage belly and are
dropped when the plane attains the required take-off speed.
Besides the use of rocket power (jet propulsion) there are
indications that the Nazis also use tow lines as well as cata-
pults to hurl their heavy planes into the air.
Experiments with small jet motors, conducted by Dr. R. H.
Goddard, the American Rocket Society, and others, appear
to prove that these motors warrant consideration as auxiliary
booster motors to function during take-off or at any other
time that a burst of great power is needed.
The jet or rocket motor is internal combustion in its sim-
plest form. It usually consists only of a combustion chamber
and a nozzle. Liquid fuels, usually hydrocarbons and liquid
oxygen, are fed into the chamber under pressure. Upon igni-
tion, by spark plug or other means, the combustion is con-
tinuous and the exhaust leaves the nozzle at great velocity,
thereby creating an equal reaction in the opposite direction
like the recoil of a gun when it is fired. The force of this
reaction depends upon the velocity of jet. Jet velocities have
reached sixty-five hundred feet in a second (over four thou-
sand miles per hour), which would be the speed of the rocket
in an absolute vacuum. The rocket engine is the most ineffi-
cient of all motors at low speeds, but this should not hamper
its use now. Effectiveness is more important than efficiency in
A jet-propelled aircraft, designed by Signor Campini and
built by the Caproni Airplane Company of Milan, Italy, flew
one hundred and sixty-eight miles at an average speed of one
hundred and thirty miles per hour in December, 1941. Air is
taken in at the hollow nose of this propellerless plane and ac-
94 Miracles Ahead!
celerated through a tunnel toward the rear by an engine-
driven compressor or blower. Fuel is burned in the air stream
just before ejection at the nozzle. Since the oxygen used by
the plane must be obtained from the air in which the plane
flies, it, like other planes, is limited by the atmospheric pres-
sure at high altitudes.
A rocket-propelled craft of the future, which carries its
own fuel and oxygen, would become more and more efficient
as it gained speed. In a perfect vacuum the plane would, the-
oretically, be 100 per cent efficient because the forward veloc-
ity of the plane would equal the velocity of the propulsion
Numerous other wartime devices will be on hand to aid
postwar commercial aviation. David Sarnoff, president of
Radio Corporation of America, predicts a great advance in
the science of radio, in which radio instruments will emerge
from the war "almost human in their capabilities."
He pointed out that "the radio direction finder, which here-
tofore had only an ear, now also has an eye. The safety of avi-
ation will be greatly enhanced, for the aviator will be able
to see the ground through clouds or darkness. By the scien-
tific application of the radio echo, the radio 'eye' will avert
collisions, while the radio altimeter will measure the altitude
and warn of mountains ahead or structures below."
The radio altimeter (or absolute altimeter) is a great im-
provement over the instrument used in past years. This altim-
eter is operated by the change in air pressure, and it gives only
the altitude above sea level. A pilot flying at five thousand
feet might pass over a peak at an altitude of only fifty feet,
but the altimeter would show the altitude as five thousand
Global Transportation 95
The absolute altimeter sends out an ultrahigh-frequency
signal vertically to the ground and picks the signal up as it is
reflected into the air. In addition, part of the signal is trans-
mitted directly from the sending to the receiving antenna.
The difference in time between the reception of the direct
and reflected signals serves to give the pilot his exact altitude
above the ground at all times.
Mr. Sarnoff described Radar (Radio Detecting And Rang-
ing) as a great offensive and defensive weapon in wartime
which will, in peacetime, assure both air and surface craft
safe passage in any weather. Radar, plus the rapid improve-
ment in blind or radio beam flying, should ultimately make air
traffic almost 100 per cent foolproof.
The Finest Airways System on Earth
No other country in the world has an airways system to
match that maintained by the Civil Aeronautics Administra-
tion (CAA) . Early in 1943 the CAA was operating three hun-
dred and eleven lighted intermediate (emergency-landing)
fields, one hundred and forty- two flashing beacons, and 2,098
rotating beacons along the Federal Airways System within
the United States.
For the benefit of all airmen (not just air lines pilots) the
CAA maintains and operates four hundred and eight inter-
mediate-frequency radio range and marker stations, one hun-
dred and ninety-seven ultrahigh-frequency radio fan markers,
and seventy-two ultrahigh-frequency radio range stations
(which probably will be increased to one hundred and forty-
three during 1943). Also in the airways system are four hun-
dred and forty-six weather-reporting stations, joined by a
54,000 mile teletype circuit for quick reporting of meteorologi-
cal conditions from coast to coast. Traffic from point to point
along the airways is directed from twenty-three control sta-
96 Miracles Ahead!
tions, located at major airports. The control centers use a
10,400 mile teletype circuit to check and clear movements
of swiftly traveling aircraft along the airways. Finally, at sev-
enty-four designated fields the CAA operates airport control
towers. This number will be increased, at the request of the
military, to one hundred and twenty or more in 1943.
Since 1941 the Alaskan Airways System has been expanded
and improved until Alaska now has as fine a system of air-
ways and airports as any section of the United States.
The Federal Airways System now operates six interconti-
nental superradio stations capable of communicating with air-
craft at any point on the globe. These stations have placed
the United States several years ahead of any other nation in
the world in the development of intercontinental airways.
The immediate postwar problems of the airways, as seen
by the CAA, will be the rebuilding of the entire domestic air-
ways system by substituting ultrahigh-frequency for the old
standard intermediate frequency. Ultrahigh frequency will
eliminate static and provide airmen with aerial "highway
markers" as easy to follow as those along our best highways.
The CAA reports that, exclusive of certain military air-
dromes, there will be about eight hundred and sixty-five major
airports in the United States by the end of 1943. All of them
will have paved runways of thirty-five hundred feet or more,
capable of handling the largest craft. Less than one hundred
such fields existed in 1940. In addition to these there are more
than two thousand lesser fields. Within the past few years
numerous new airports for the use of military transports and
combat planes have been built with American and Allied
funds throughout the country. After the war many of these
fields will be available for civilian use.
In planning future airways and other facilities, the CAA
figures that before 1950 the United States may well have five
hundred thousand private, commercial, and military planes in
Global Transportation 97
active service. Wolfgang Langewiesche contends that "we
shall need an extension of the airways to the grass routes.
That may mean low-cost 'flyways' for bad weather, extend-
ing to every town, with a landing strip every ten miles and
perhaps regular sign posts, bearing numbers, marking the
Solutions for Postwar Unemployment
In 1943, according to the OWI, the total production of the
American aviation industry cargo and combat planes to-
gether will reach the total of $20,100,000,000, a fourth of
our war budget for the year and almost a seventh of the esti-
mated national income. This is in contrast with the auto indus-
try, which at its peak in 1941 reached only $3,700,000,000.
About 2,500,000 trained workers are now turning out planes
and almost all airplane plants can be converted to the pro-
duction of peacetime aircraft.
Will aircraft plants shut down when the war ends and turn
loose thousands of employees to hunt for jobs in other indus-
tries? It would appear that commercial and private equip-
ment requirements will keep most factories busy for a while,
and the military planes on hand will require an annual re-
placement of about 25 per cent because of losses and the fact
that planes will get out of date.
Glenn L. Martin does not believe that the postwar years
should hold any fears for the airplane industry. He predicts
that after readjustments are made the plane builders will be
even busier than they are right now turning out planes "for
an aviation business bigger than anything we ever dreamed."
He believes that in five or six years the industry "will be
using at least all of its wartime workers."
Mr. Martin based his prophecy on these factors: (i) need
for at least five years' replacement in domestic aviation; (2)
98 Miracles Ahead!
demand for new military planes, especially types useful for
policing the Axis nations; (3) development of the cargo glider,
along with special tractor planes to tow them; (4) growth of
international and oceanic air lines requiring hundreds of giant
flying boats; (5) transportation of all mail, plus a substantial
portion of express business, by air instead of by surface car-
riers; (6) expansion of the private plane market by thousands
of wartime pilots who have learned to fly and will want to
continue flying, and by thousands of other people who will
have become "air-conditioned" during the war.
Other observers foresee a lot of jobs for pilots and workers,
selling and servicing private planes and teaching people how
to fly. Many other workers will be needed to operate new
airports and maintain the flying aids on our airways.
New businesses will be organized to provide "taxi" planes
for business and sight-seeing; for crop dusting, aerial photog-
raphy, and other purposes. These organizations will provide
jobs for pilots, mechanics, and office workers.
Other Postwar Issues
Experience gained by United States pilots and ground crews
in the world-wide operations of ATC and NATS will give
this country a long lead over Britain and other United Nations
in the race for air-transport business when the war ends.
Britain will be at a further disadvantage because the United
States has been building most of the transport planes, while
the British have concentrated on the production of bombers
Referring to this fact, Juan Trippe, president of Pan Amer-
ican Airways, said that British Overseas Airways and the
national air lines of the other United Nations should each be
permitted to obtain from the United States, on equitable
terms, all the ocean-transport planes they will need to restore
the balance of fair competition.
Global Transportation 99
"We all share the healthy American aspiration to be the
winner of a race or a ball game or an international business
competition," he said. "But fair is fair. If you want to win a
baseball game you try to out-hit and out-score the other fel-
low, but you don't take away his bat."
In a questionnaire on postwar air commerce which the CAB
sent to eighteen air lines the private companies indicated firm
opposition to government participation in the management or
ownership of their companies in the development of foreign
air commerce. The air lines contended that past performance
has shown that private management and initiative "are capa-
ble of successfully upholding the role of the United States in
They agreed with the CAB that the government should
immediately arrange a reciprocal exchange with other coun-
tries for the general right of "innocent passage" (nonrnili-
tary), together with the right to land for refuelling and for
other technical needs.
Merchant ships long have enjoyed the right of "innocent
passage" through waterways controlled by a foreign nation.
Airplanes never have had this right. For example, an Ameri-
can ship on a voyage from Seattle to Alaska could pass
through Canadian territorial waters without asking anybody's
permission. But an American air transport on the same route
would have to get express permission from Canada to fly
over the same waters. The only "free" air lies over the oceans,
beyond the three-mile limit.
"The right of 'innocent passage/ " the air lines explained,
"is basic to the development of international air transporta-
tion and leaves open for later negotiation and agreement the
question of the right to engage in commerce by air." *
Some American aviation experts fear that the granting of
reciprocal trading rights to foreign nations will expose our
air lines to dangerous foreign competition. They point out
1 Italics ours.
ioo Miracles Ahead!
that foreign merchant marines, operating with low wage
standards and supported by their governments, were able to
cripple the United States Merchant Marine after the first
World War. Oliver J. Lissitzyn in his book International
Air Transport and National Policy * argues, however, that
there is not likely to be much difference between air-transport
costs in this nation and foreign countries, and that American
companies will have the modern planes and the "know how"
to hold their own by offering a high-quality service at reason-
It appears, too, that if we want the right to carry passengers
and freight to foreign nations we will have to let them operate
planes to and from the United States, just as foreign ships are
permitted to trade to and from our ports.
Other observers warn against letting postwar competition
for air traffic get out of hand. Bitter competition among the
United Nations could wreck the teamwork that will be
needed to hold Axis nations in check and preserve world
"Air power," declares Juan Trippe, "can further anarchy
or peace. It can destroy or build. It can be a lethal weapon
or a life-giving tool sword or ploughshare, Frankenstein
monster or Aladdin's lamp, Stuka or Clipper. It can enslave
man or set him free. . . .
"It is obvious, of course, that the great national air trans-
port monopolies, will continue to compete with each other
and with us. But it is vital to establish an equitable basis for
such competition. Friendship will result from fair play.
"The war," he concluded, "has been a bitter laboratory for
air transport and its benefits should be made available to all
the people in the peace to come."
1 Lissitzyn, Oliver J., International Air Transport and National Policy.
New York, Council of Foreign Relations, 1942.
BY LAND AND SEA
IT WOULD BE extremely unwise to compose an epitaph for the
railroads, steamships, trucks, and busses at this point. Airplanes
will compete strongly with surface transportation in the next
few years, but these carriers are preparing to put up a stiff
fight for business.
Furthermore, as W. A. Patterson, president of the United
Airlines, pointed out, "If the volume of air-borne cargo in-
creased one hundred fold it would still take only one tenth of
one percent of the freight noiv being transported by the
"The airplane and railroads," he added, "will be definitely
competitive for certain types of express, but the gains which
the railroads will achieve in freight traffic created by the air-
plane will more than offset their loss of passenger business to
The railroads grew up with the United States, and their
bands of steel helped bind the growing country together. In
Europe the rails were laid between well-established cities. But
in the United States the railroads pushed westward and people
and towns followed. Because of the importance of transporta-
tion in the Far West, the states and the Federal Government
stimulated railroad construction with loans and grants of
After 1920 the competition of oil pipe lines, automobiles,
trucks, busses, inland waterways, and finally the airplane
sharply cut railroad passenger and express business. Certain
102 Miracles Ahead!
leaders in the railroad industry sought ways to meet this com-
petition. In the early 1930*8 William Stout, the Detroit engi-
neer, designed the first streamlined, lightweight, gasoline-
driven train in the United States for the Pullman Car & Manu-
facturing Corporation. The "Railplane" was made of welded
steel tubing covered with duralumin, and Stout claimed that
tests showed the Railplane truck was one-tenth the weight
and two and a half times as strong as the standard railroad
truck. Its two 163 horsepower engines gave the Railplane a
top speed of ninety miles per hour and it traveled on rubber-
lined wheel rims, which absorbed the shock. Sealed windows
and forced ventilation assured passengers of a comfortable
Several years passed, however, before the railroads began
using streamlined and Diesel-motored trains to compete with
airplanes, trucks, busses, and private automobiles. But by 1940
the United States had the largest number of trains in its his-
tory with scheduled runs of sixty miles per hour or more, and
freight trains ran half again as fast and hauled more cars.
Coaches were more comfortable and attractive than the Pull-
man cars used on all the first-class railroads a few years
Postwar advances in railroading will eclipse those made in
prewar years. Abundant supplies of cheap aluminum and
magnesium and new steel alloys, will permit the railroads to
rebuild their rolling stock. The ever-busy Henry J. Kaiser
announced in May, 1943, that he intends to turn out fast,
lightweight railroad cars in the yards where he now produces
"These yards," he explained, "can be quickly converted to
handle railroad equipment. They can turn out welded cars
on a mass production basis with speed and economy. We
agree," he added, "that our railroads must be rebuilt after the
By Land and Sea 103
war. We agree that thousands of shipyard workers must have
jobs. This will do both."
Kaiser engineers have developed passenger coaches made of
new steel alloys and aluminum and magnesium. They will be
so light that one engine can pull two or three times the num-
ber on the same amount of fuel. Lightweight freight cars also
have been planned. The substitution of light metals for steel
in these cars will cut weight from forty-five thousand pounds
to fifteen thousand. The cars can handle the nation's freight
at twice the present speed and about half the cost, according
to Mr, Kaiser. The drop in rail equipment and operating costs
will permit the railroads to lower rates to compete favorably
with other carriers.
The lightweight passenger coaches also will have improved
air conditioning, cool fluorescent lighting, larger windows and
sky-view roofs of strong transparent plastic, in addition to
all the refinements of the best hotel.
Edward G. Budd, president of the manufacturing company
bearing his name and a pioneer in the use of stainless steel for
planes and trains, is confident that there should be a potential
market for railway passenger cars "to the value of several hun-
dred million dollars immediately upon the lifting of present
Diesel motors internal-combustion engines without spark
plugs will continue to grow in popularity on the railroads.
Cost of operation is low for Diesels and they can outpull
many steam locomotives. M. W. Smith, vice-president in
charge of engineering for the Westinghouse Electric & Man-
ufacturing Co., believes, however, that efficient turbines will
be used for trains as well as planes. He said that the high-
speed gas turbine, using a continuous expansion of gas to
rotate windmill-like blades and produce a steady flow of
power, offers the possibility of another form of motive power
104 Miracles Ahead!
for locomotives using either mechanical or electrical drives
He revealed early in 1943 that a steam-turbine-driven loco-
motive geared directly to the driving wheels actually has been
designed and is about to be made and tested. Mr. Smith said
it would supply higher power at faster speeds "exceeding
that available from reciprocating steam locomotives." A 6,500
horsepower unit could, according to engineers, save more
than 25 per cent in the pounds of steam per horsepower hour
over the present-day locomotive. This points to more eco-
nomical operation and, since it eliminates certain locomotive
parts that move back and forth, it would cut wear and tear
on moving parts, permit the use of smaller wheels, and allow
more space for boilers.
A recent invention, on which a United States patent was
granted in 1943, promises to greatly improve the present-day
steam locomotive. It would give the railroad engine the ad-
vantage of more efficient, higher steam pressure now available
to ships and power plants. The new design uses a horizontal
water-tube boiler instead of the old-style fire-tube boiler.
The tubes are suspended around a large fire space within the
engine shell, and insulate it against the high firebox tempera-
ture a method similar to that employed on ships. Steam is
stored in eight or more vertical steam drums arranged in two
rows down the sides of the locomotive.
"The Battle of Transportation 7 '
When World War II began, Nazi experts were confident
that the "obsolete" United States railroads would be unable
to meet the demands of total war. They pointed out correctly
that our railroads had less equipment than in 1916. But the
railroads, with fewer locomotives, coaches, and freight cars,
have broken every passenger- and freight-carrying record.
By Land and Sea 105
Their performance under war handicaps indicates that they
will be ready, willing, and able to give a good account of
themselves against all competitors in postwar years.
Reporting on "the battle of transportation," the Office of
War Information pointed out that the heavy blow delivered
by Nazi submarines to intercoastal shipping through the
Panama Canal, and to coastwise shipping along the Atlantic,
had thrown a heavy burden on the railroads. Before the war
emergency, said the OWI, one tanker used to leave the Gulf
ports almost every hour with oil for the seventeen Eastern
states and the District of Columbia, now known as District I.
One million five hundred thousand barrels of oil a day were
delivered to that region by water. Customarily only five or
six thousand barrels a day were delivered by rail, virtually
all of it special products such as asphalt, liquefied petroleum
gases, and wax. Now East-coast tankers are few (the exact
number of those in service is a war secret) and the railroads
have taken over Eastern oil deliveries in a larger measure than
was believed possible even by themselves when the emer-
gency first arose.
"Somewhat less than in the case of oil, but still to a strik-
ing extent," the OWI reports, "the railroads have assumed
the major burden of coal deliveries to the Northeast. New
England, which in 1939 received three-quarters of its bitumi-
nous coal by collier, is now receiving over half by rail. . . .
New York, which is more easily served by rail than is New
England, now receives no collier deliveries from Hampton
In addition to the above shipments, the railroads are mov-
ing to ports quantities of Army and Lend-Lease exports which
dwarf anything in the country's history. In 1942 they car-
ried 638,000,000,000 ton-miles of freight, an increase of a
third over 1941, which had been the peak year, and OWI
says the figure cannot help but rise in 1943.
106 Miracles Ahead!
The OWI compares the railroads' performance in the first
World War and in World War II:
"During the last war, freight congestion on the railroads,
particularly at and behind ports, became so great that war
plants closed for lack of coal, fuel riots took place, goods
spoiled on piers, and freight cars containing cargo needed for
ships had to be lifted out of clogged yards by crane. This was
due in large part to the facts that the railroad lacked any cen-
tral agency among themselves (such as is now provided by
the Car Service Division of the Association of American Rail-
roads, which arranges for pooling of freight cars and other
equipment), and that there was little cooperation between
carrier and shipper, goods being routed to ports without any
assurance that ship space would be ready. After the govern-
ment took the railroads over in December, 1917, conditions
improved. But at no time were there so few prolonged con-
gestions as at present. And at no time during the last war did
such an immense volume of freight move westward as well as
eastward across the country as today.
"There is no talk, at the present time," the OWI adds, "of
the government assuming ownership and operation of the
railroads. . . . The Army and Lend-Lease and other agen-
cies agree that the control system is working 'reasonably well'
and it is generally agreed that desire to avoid government con-
trols has acted as a stimulus to the railroads to maintain a
high degree of cooperation."
In its report on postwar transportation problems the
National Resources Planning Board stated that "the future
of the railroad lies in its continuance as the principal agency
for heavy freight movement. The railways are capable, under
a system of trainload operation and rates, of meeting much
inland waterway competition, other than on the Great Lakes.
Except for the waterways no agency of transport can seri-
ously challenge them save on the shortest hauls."
By Land and Sea 107
Trucks and Busses Hold Their Oivn
A survey by the Automotive Council of War Production
of 227 truck operators showed that of 30,069 loads carried in
a one-week period in 1943 almost 75 per cent conveyed mili-
tary materials or products. Another survey, of 741 war plants,
revealed that 65 per cent of incoming freight and 69 per cent
of outgoing freight was being shipped by truck. Likewise the
amount of shipping, both incoming and outgoing, carried by
motor vehicles, averaged better than 50 per cent for 1,311
smaller firms in Minnesota, Missouri, and South Dakota.
Looking ahead to postwar years, the NRPB believes the
fluidity and quick response in emergencies of truck transpor-
tation, which made it valuable in wartime, will enable it to
hold business in the future.
"The motortruck is most useful," the NRPB reported, "in
terminal service, on the shorter hauls, and over longer routes
where its speed can equal or exceed that of rail operation.
In the merchandise business, however, speed and flexibility of
service, combined with favorable rates and minimum packing
requirements make truck service especially attractive. Most
less-than-carload business, except on the longest hauls, may
eventually move by truck or by some form of coordinated
service. In areas of light traffic density, along branch lines,
and in local service along major channels of trade, the motor-
truck has another important place to fill."
Engineers of Mack Truck, Inc., foresee a great change in
materials that form the body of postwar trucks. Magnesium,
aluminum, and a host of other lightweight materials, such as
plastic bonded plywood, will cut truck weight and allow for
that much more weight in pay load. Major changes also are
expected to take place in the engine. A lighter engine with
greater horsepower in proportion to weight is being designed.
High-octane gasoline, used now exclusively for aircraft, will
io8 Miracles Ahead!
play a major role in the development of more efficient
engines. The NRPB also forecast the greater use of Diesels
The "Truck of the Future," designed by Lurelle Guild,
noted New York industrial designer, has a completely stream-
lined body enclosing the wheels. Front as well as rear loading,
better load distribution, tandem front-driving axles, curved
plastic windshield giving better vision in front, and periscope
rear vision are among the other features provided by this
Edward G. Budd pointed out that his company had just
reached full-scale production of stainless-steel trailers at the
outbreak of the war, and was assured of a large volume of this
business in the postwar period because of the successful ex-
perience trucking companies had with the lighter type of
"Bus transportation," declared the NRPB, "has important
advantages in short-distance traffic and in cross-country traf-
fic between the major channels of movement. It also provides
frequent and economical service in the light traffic areas which
cannot be satisfactorily served by rail. Except on local hauls,
however, good rail service can offer substantial competi-
Busses, as well as the railroads, will have to battle the air
liners and passenger-carrying gliders. They are expected to
match the railroads in providing fully air-conditioned coaches,
with plastic windows, sky-view roofs, private compartments
in front, and a lounge and observation room in the rear.
A double-decked coach may be built like a huge trailer with
the driver's cab and engine hitched on for ease in maneuver-
Your travel dollar will buy a lot of comfort on these busses;
and fares also will be low, because light-metal or plastic and
plywood bodies, plus superefficient engines, will permit these
By Land and Sea 109
vehicles to get twice as many miles per gallon of high-octane
During the first World War the nation spent $3,000,000,000
for a fleet of twenty-five hundred ships. But lack of a con-
sistent government policy, plus competition from foreign
ships supported by their governments and paying their crews
lower wages, soon crippled the American Merchant Marine.
In a dozen years the United States had only three hundred and
forty-seven ocean ships. After Congress passed the Merchant
Marine Act of 1936 real progress was made. New, modern
ships were built in a program calling for fifty ships a year for
ten years. Shipyards were put in good order so that when
war came the shipbuilding industry was ready to expand
operations rapidly. Officials say the Merchant Marine Act
advanced the nation's wartime shipbuilding program by at
least two years.
Prefabrication and welding have enabled American ship-
builders to break all records in turning out ships. No longer
do they lay the keel and then build upward, riveting one plate
at a time until the hull is finished. Today huge two-hundred-
ton sections are fabricated near by and then lifted in place by
cranes. Prefabrication has enabled Henry J. Kaiser's yards to
cut shipbuilding time from months and weeks to days and
Welding of plates not only saves time but economizes on
man power, because one welder can join almost twice as
many plates in a day as can a three-man riveting crew. Weld-
ing saves steel, because it does away with overlaps and the
backup plates behind each seam where the large outer plates
come together. Elimination of overlaps, as well as thousands
of rivets, cuts down weight and permits ships to carry more
no Miracles Ahead!
cargo. This development, and greater use of steel alloys and
light metals in postwar ships, will give shipping companies
the faster ships needed to compete with foreign vessels and
also with air transport.
Shipbuilders have set records in ship production, and ship-
ping companies have exceeded past standards in seeing that
every possible foot of cargo space in these vessels is utilized.
"In concrete benefit to the war," wrote William Bloeth,
New York World-Telegram financial writer, "the industry
has delivered more goods per ship and more goods over-all.
The most worthwhile of these contributions has been the
reduction of what is known as 'broken stowage,' a term for
the waste space on a ship. The progress is freely called 'mirac-
ulous' both by experienced shipping men and by officials of
the War Shipping Administration.
"Where, normally, a broken stowage of between 25 and
30 per cent was expected on a ship, careful attention to all
details by experienced shipping men has trimmed this in war
shipping to about 14 per cent on some routes. The figure is
even more satisfactory in the light of the fact that absolutely
no waste space is physically impossible," Bloeth adds.
"Spaces between deck beams, where no cargo could be
stowed without lifting the deck and installing specially de-
signed packages, still are computed in the theoretical capacity
of a ship. Even with free-flowing grains, which can pour into
all crevices, 100 per cent is impossible. Even more significance
is added by the fact that war cargo is 'balloon' cargo, taking
up too much space for the weight involved. Military vehicles
and tanks are the worst space-eaters and are important items
in the cargoes being carried. The difficulty stems from the
fact that a ship's capacity is limited by both weight and space.
Bulky items don't add up to the peak weight, and heavy loads
that hit the maximum weight before the holds are filled are
considered bad stowage. These factors necessitate minute
By Land and Sea in
preparations and carefully worked-out plans, despite the need
for wartime speed."
These wartime lessons in proper stowage of cargo will
prove valuable to shipping companies in postwar years. They
will have better ships, and also use them to greater advantage
on world trade routes.
The Diesels Step Ahead
In June, 1943, Captain Lisle F. Small told a meeting of the
Society of Automotive Engineers that the United States
Navy, under pressure of war, is undergoing a "revolutionary
process of dieselization." He said that at the end of the first
World War the Navy had Diesel engines only in submarines
and the total horsepower of all of them was only 150,000.
Now Diesels are "chunging" away to the total tune of
12,000,000 horsepower on craft of all kinds, ranging from the
mighty 45,000 ton Iowa down to landing barges and the
"There has been a progressive slimming down of pounds
per horsepower as new types of Diesels evolved," Captain
Small declared. "In 1918 the engines of most of our sub-
marines weighed 66.5 pounds per horsepower. The big Diesels
in the German pocket battleship Spee, destroyed in the mouth
of the Plate River early in the war, had got the weight down
to 28 pounds per horsepower."
Improvements in Diesel design also speeded their use in
cargo vessels. The Maritime Commission's fifty-ships-a-year
program, begun in 1936, included a large number of Diesel
motorships. The Donald McKay, first motorship completed,
was rated one of the best cargo ships ever launched. Our
greatly expanded wartime shipbuilding program called for
the construction of Liberty and Victory ships using recipro-
cating steam engines, which were the easiest to build in the
ii2 Miracles Ahead!
emergency. But the Maritime Commission also authorized the
building of smaller numbers of ships in its long-range pro-
gram cargo ships of the C-i, C-2, and C-3 types that use
either Diesel or turbine power and can be used after the war.
In addition, some of the slow-moving Liberty ships, which
would not be considered economical in normal times, may be
converted to Diesel motors in order to keep them in service.
The clearest outline of postwar shipping policy yet given
by a government official was announced in a speech in June,
1943, by Admiral Emory S. Land, chairman of the Maritime
Commission and War Shipping Administrator. He visualized
a record-breaking peacetime merchant fleet of from fifteen
million to twenty million tons, and also advocated the adop-
tion of tramp shipping as a definite part of the maritime econ-
omy after the war.
Tramp shipping, which follows no definite routes or sched-
ules but goes when and where cargo may be found, has here-
tofore been frowned upon by the commission as uneconomic.
Admiral Land also favored private ownership, private opera-
tion, and private construction of ships; shipment of "a liberal
percentage of our overseas traffic in American bottoms"; es-
tablishment of proper routes, lines, and services with a mini-
mum of American competition necessary, and maintenance
for the duration of the commission's policy of holding title to
"Post-war maritime objectives," Admiral Land declared,
"are not being overlooked because of the exigencies of war.
We are not losing sight of the objective manifestly set up in
the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 which gives the Maritime
Commission the duty of proper rehabilitation of the merchant
"In order to plan properly for the after-the-war period,"
he added, "consideration must be given to the probable fleet
under the American flag that will be in existence at the end
By Land and Sea 113
of the war. We should definitely ear-mark for United States
commerce a modern fleet of from 15,000,000 to 20,000,000
deadweight tons. As a nation of 135,000,000 people, we are
entitled to that tonnage. As the greatest shipbuilding nation
in the world, we are entitled to have it as modern and up-to-
date as the exigencies of war permit."
Airplane and Ship Competition
C. I. Stanton, Civil Aeronautics Administrator, has some
interesting facts and figures bearing on the coming battle
between the airplane and the ship:
"It is perfectly obvious that in the not too distant future
high-value cargo of all kinds will be commonly transported
by air both domestically and overseas; planes will carry pas-
sengers, mail, express, and freight in ever-growing quantities.
But why stretch the facts? Why claim that air transportation
will be the only form of transportation? Far from bringing
about a decrease in surface traffic, expanded air traffic will
increase it, for the fuel to keep the planes in the air will have
to be hauled by surface craft.
"A Clipper can carry 8 1 / 2 tons of freight from New York
to England if it refuels in Newfoundland, whereas a 10,000-
ton surface freighter can carry from six to eight thousand tons
of cargo, together with fuel and stores for the round trip.
Therefore a good many hundred Clipper trips would be
needed to carry the tonnage which one io,ooo-ton water-
borne freighter can handle on one voyage. Furthermore, 8,500
tons of gasoline would have to be got to England to fuel
these hundreds of Clipper trips back to Newfoundland, and
10,500 tons would have to be got to Newfoundland to fuel
them between Newfoundland and England and Newfound-
land and New York. Thus more than two surface freighter
loads of gasoline must be carried to Newfoundland and Eng-
ii4 Miracles Ahead!
land to permit the air delivery of a cargo which one freighter
could carry across. This more than doubles the surface ves-
sel cargo tonnage requirements. The more planes that fly, the
more ships will have to sail."
Cargo ships do not appear to have much to fear from air-
transport competition in the next few years. But ocean liners
may be hard hit, and it is not likely that any new Queen
Marys or Normandies will be built in the future. Nations
whose national pride gives them a big-ship complex would do
well to concentrate on luxury air liners for high-speed ocean
trips and to build smaller passenger ships, which stress com-
fort, recreation, and safety.
YOUR NEW SERVANTS: THE
THE SCIENCE of electronics is the open-sesame to the doors of
a miracle world. To date it has opened the door to the won-
ders of radio, sound moving pictures, and a great number of
aids of which we are scarcely yet aware. In the world of
tomorrow the electronic "watchmen" will protect your chil-
dren from the prowling marauder and also from the deadly
virus of infantile paralysis and other diseases that we have not
yet conquered. A billion electronic "traffic policemen" will
stand guard night and day to apprehend the speeding motor-
ist and stop him at the next intersection, thereby reducing the
hazards of driving. Thousands upon thousands of factory
workers will be freed from the deadly monotony and fatigue
of the assembly line while electronic "workmen" watch the
presses, the conveyor belts, and the machinery; they will do
all the checking, wrapping, sorting, packing, and counting in
In the home there will be more than a dozen swift, silent
electronic "maids" at the beck and call of the homemaker,
freeing her from the drudgery of housekeeping. So far it has
been possible to develop electronic robots for almost every
imaginable task and a good many that most of us would not
The war, which of necessity has stopped production and
development in many fields, has given a tremendous accelera-
tion to the development of all things electronic. Mass pro-
duction of electronic equipment has increased by fantastic
n6 Miracles Ahead!
leaps and bounds. Mass production of other equipment has
owed its tremendous growth to electronic devices. Radio fre-
quency has cut the drying time of one type of plywood from
three days to three minutes. Electronic eyes study a machine
whirling at seven thousand revolutions per minute as though
it were standing still, diagnosing the most minute flaw in its
moving parts before that flaw becomes serious enough to
cause a breakdown. Electronic research goes on apace. In
November, 1942, the R.C.A. Radio-Electronic Laboratories
were dedicated. Housed within a building almost five hundred
feet long are one hundred and fifty laboratories where the
secret weapons of today are being developed to win the war,
and where new electronic wonders will become handmaidens
of tomorrow's miracle world.
Edison Discovered the Secret
As far back as 1883 Thomas Edison discovered the secret
which is the basis of electronics today. He was experiment-
ing with his new invention, the electric-light bulb. He found
that when he sealed a metal plate into the bulb, and con-
nected that plate to the positive charge of a battery, current
flowed from the heated filament of his light bulb to the posi-
tively charged plate. Current was flowing across empty space!
Edison patented his discovery, and it has since been known
as the "Edison effect." But the patent ran out before Edison
attempted to develop it further.
Twenty-one years later, Professor J. A. Fleming developed
this Edison effect into a vacuum tube which was called the
"Fleming valve," and put this effect of current flow by "ther-
mionic emission" to work. Edison had already stumbled on
the fact that, if a substance is sealed in a vacuum tube and
heated, electrons will be emitted from it, or evaporated, just
as we can evaporate a pan of water by applying heat and
boiling it rapidly.
Your New Servants: The Electronic "Watchmen" 117
If we seal a piece of tungsten wire into a glass tube, and
draw all the air out of the tube, and heat the wire, electrons
will be emitted or evaporated from the wire. If we seal another
piece of metal, called a plate or anode, into the tube, and con-
nect the tube into an electric circuit so that there is a positive
charge on the plate side of the circuit, the electrons which
are emitted from the tungsten filament or cathode will jump
through the space between the cathode and plate, and current
will flow across empty space.
If the plus charge on the plate is increased, more and more
electrons will be drawn to the plate and more and more cur-
rent will flow. If the charge on the plate is changed to a nega-
tive charge, or an excess of electrons, the current will not
Thus the diode, or two-element vacuum tube, gives us a
one-way path for the flow of electric current. If we wish to
change alternating current into direct, or one-way, current,
we can put a diode in the circuit; and the current will flow
but one way. We say the current has been rectified, and we
call a tube used in this way a rectifier. The usefulness of the
rectifier tube is limited only by the amount of voltage it can
stand without breaking down. For a long time this was a
severe limitation; the first rectifiers could not stand more than
thirty volts! A three-element rectifier, called the thyratron, is
capable of handling tremendous voltages.
What this one tube can mean to the power industry has
been graphically stated by Raymond F. Yates in his article
"The Coming Electric Age" in the Science Digest:
"The use of the new tube known as the thyratron will
eventually save the industry many millions of dollars annu-
"For reasons well known to technicians, it has been impos-
sible to transmit anything but high-voltage alternating cur-
rent. We simply do not know how to generate high-voltage
direct current, yet this would be the ideal current if we could
n8 Miracles Ahead!
step it up to voltages where it could be pushed through long
transmission lines without serious losses.
"The thyratron, purely an electronic device, promises, for
the first time in the history of the power industry, high-
voltage direct current. A great and devastating revolution is
threatened in the transmission of power. It will, however, be
a constructive revolution and one of great benefit to both the
manufacturer and the user of electric power.
"Because of line losses that do not occur when high-voltage
direct current is used and because of the great difficulty of
insulating high-voltage alternating-current lines, an alternat-
ing-current transmission line designed for 230,000 volts would
carry no less than 300,000 volts of direct current. But that is
not all the story; the actual power carried by the direct cur-
rent would be from two to four times greater than the power
carried by the alternating current.
"When it is estimated that $1,500,000,000 has been invested
in transmission lines, we begin to get some idea of the prodi-
gious possibilities of this thyratron. If we are able to transmit
only twice the amount of current over our existing lines, pub-
lic utility assets will be created out of thin air."
That is but one example of the dramatic possibilities of
vacuum tubes in industry. Even today they are used in more
than one thousand unexpected ways. Tomorrow, who knows?
While the thyratron is used as a rectifier, in the manner of
a diode, the thyratron is a triode, or three-element tube. This
third element, the "grid," makes possible the instantaneous
control of power by the tube.
James Stokley, of the General Electric Research Laborato-
ries, gives this exceptionally good explanation of the action of
the grid. 1
"This was the invention of another American, Lee de For-
est, in 1907. Between filament and plate he inserted a small
1 Stokley, James, Science Remakes Our World. New York, Ives Wash-
Your Neiv Servants: The Electronic "Watchmen" 1 19
screen, or grid, of wires. This can be thought of as a Venetian
blind. Positively charged, the same as the filament, the blind
is open and electrons pass through freely. But if it is gradu-
ally made negative, this is equivalent to closing the blind; and
the stream of electrons is reduced and finally stopped. Such
tubes made possible a new function that of amplification.
.A very small current on the grid can control the flow of a
larger current through the tube and, because of the instantane-
ous response, the quickest variations in the grid circuit are
immediately reflected in the flow from the plate. . . .
"Another electron tube has found application in such varied
tasks as controlling the lighting for a dance number on the
stage of the Radio City Music Hall and welding the metal
shell of a bombing plane. This is the thyratron. In one of its
largest sizes, it will control 300,000 watts of power with less
than half a watt applied to its grid!"
After the war the average man will reap the benefits not
only of better electronic equipment of his own but of the
effect of the speed-up on the production of many other arti-
cles by the introduction of electronic devices in factory pro-
duction. Just as the machine age in manufacturing made the
luxuries of yesterday the conveniences of today, so the elec-
tronic age in manufacturing will make the luxuries of today
the conveniences of tomorrow.
When droves of German Stukas came over England in the
historic Battle of Britain, Radar teamed up with R.A.F. Spit-
fires and Hurricanes to save the day. Radar warned the Eng-
lish pilots long before the German planes were overhead. It
enabled "the few" to conserve , their strength, to get off the
ground in time, to concentrate their forces where needed, and
to fly at an altitude which would give them the needed advan-
tages over enemy forces which vastly outnumbered them.
i2o Miracles Ahead!
The Radar "eye" in the nose of R.A.F. night fighter planes
informed the pilot when a Nazi was within range and per-
mitted the defending planes to hunt down the enemy even in
the blackest night.
Radar gets much of the credit for saving Britain. It might
have saved many ships and lives at Pearl Harbor. The United
States Army Signal Corps Radar installation was not sleeping
on the morning of December 7, 1941. Private Lockhard (now
Lieutenant Lockhard, wearer of the D.S.M.) was getting in
some extra practice on the Radar equipment when he spotted
a large flight of planes more than half an hour's flying time
from Pearl Harbor. He reported this information to his supe-
rior. But the officer knew (as the Japs probably also knew)
that a large number of American planes were due, so he sus-
pected nothing. The rest of the story is well known.
What is Radar? Radar uses a principle which is as familiar
to us as an echo. Radio waves at very high frequencies, called
U.H.F. for "ultrahigh frequencies," travel in a straight line
and behave like a beam of light. They cannot be reflected
back from the ionosphere, as can the longer waves of our
everyday broadcast band. But they can be reflected back from
a metal object. Therefore, if they hit a metal object, such as a
ship, a plane, or a submarine, they will bounce back in a
straight line toward the transmitter which shot them out into
space. If there is a receiver located at the point of the trans-
mitter, these radio waves can be picked up when they bounce
back. And by timing the return in millionths of a second, the
receiver equipment can tell just how long it took the radio
waves to go out, strike this object, and bound back, and, con-
sequently, just how far away the object is.
Radar is not so "new" a discovery as the layman might
think. Twenty-one years ago Dr. A. Hoyt Taylor and Leo
C. Young, now superintendent and assistant superintendent
of the radio division of the Naval Research Laboratory, dis-
covered that high-frequency waves would bounce back from
Your New Servants: The Electronic "Watchmen" 1 2 1
metal objects, as an echo bounces from a wall or a mountain-
side. With the first detection devices it was possible only to
determine that there was a metal object somewhere within
range of the radio waves. Today a Radar unit, trained on an
enemy field, can tell the Radar operator the instant planes
take off from that field, how far away they are, how many
there are, at what altitude they are flying, and at what speed.
Thus it is possible for the Radar operators and their assistants
to plot the course of the enemy planes and to determine to
the split second when they will reach a given point, and the
planes of the home defense can keep a very unexpected ren-
dezvous with the enemy planes at a point of their choice.
The principle of Radar detection is likewise in use in direct-
ing gunfire. Hanson W. Baldwin, of the New York Times,
reports a striking incident of the effectiveness of radio direc-
tion of gunfire in a naval battle:
"Radar enabled one of our modern battleships in a night
action in the Solomons to locate, fire at and straddle on the
first salvo a Japanese battleship eight miles away.
"The Japanese ship was never actually seen by our men
until after she had been hit and was afire. Radar also played
a role in various British naval victories in the Mediterranean.
"Radar is also of major importance in controlling the fire
of antiaircraft guns, and at night has replaced, or supple-
It is the history of many scientific developments that their
underlying principles are discovered, often simultaneously, in
different countries of the world. Thus, while the American
scientists were developing our version of Radar, in England
a Scot, Robert Alexander (now Sir Robert) Watson- Watt,
was developing Great Britain's version of Radar, which was
to help win the Battle of Britain. It is known that Axis coun-
tries likewise have their version of Radar. Therefore the race
in detection is a race to develop an instrument increasingly
more effective, with a longer range and a more accurate deter-
122 Miracles Ahead!
mination of the distance and direction of its target and the
nature of the object it has spotted.
The lessening of the U-boat menace in recent months can
very largely be attributed to the increased use of Radar detect-
ing devices. Time was when the U-boat raider, lying on the
surface on a pitch-black night, recharging batteries, was as
safe as he'd be under the surface. Now the Radar opera-
tor can spot the surfaced U-boat, even though the night
hides him or a blanket of fog covers him, and direct the bomb-
ing plane unerringly to the target. The U-boat never sees the
plane approaching may not even hear it. Without warning,
bombs whistle through the black night and one more U-boat
goes down for the last time.
Just as Radar, supersleuth, helped win the Battle of Brit-
ain, so it is helping now to win the battle over the U-boat
menace. What of the peacetime uses of this wartime miracle?
The editors of Newsiveek summarize its possibilities thus:
"The development is significant for peace as well as war.
It promises a peacetime future in which collisions at night
between airplanes, or between airplanes and mountains, will
be impossible. Pilots can also take off from and land on fog
bound airdromes with perfect security. There will be no
such necessity as 'blind flying.'
"Ships will be able to enter and leave harbors despite fogs
that now make them helpless. And the perfection of 'beam
communications' or the sending out of extremely narrow
channels of electric signals, to be picked up by receivers
aboard airplanes, will aid the navigation of every amateur
One of the most dramatic developments in manufactur-
ing today is the widespread application of R.F., or radio-
Your New Servants: The Electronic "Watchmen" 123
frequency, heating. Induction heating has been used for many
years. R.F. heating is induction heating "stepped up" to radio-
frequency speeds. Two methods of induction heating are
used: electromagnetic heating is used for materials, such as
metals, in which electric current flows easily; electrostatic
heating is used for materials, such as wood and plastics, in
which electric current does not flow easily.
In its simplest terms the process of electromagnetic heat-
ing may be explained thus. A current flowing through a wire
sets up a magnetic field around the wire. If the wire is wound
into a coil, the magnetic field will flow through the coil.
Every time the direction of the current in the coil of wire
changes, the direction of the magnetic field changes too. This
changing magnetic field will set up or induce a voltage or elec-
tric pressure in a piece of metal which is inserted in the coil,
and cause current to flow in the metal. The resistance of the
metal to this flow of current causes the metal to heat. Thus the
term "induction heating" or heating caused by an induced
With nonconductive materials, such as wood, "capacity"
heating is used. The material to be heated is placed between
two metal plates. As a constantly changing current causes a
multitude of electrons to strike one of the plates, the electrons
are driven from the other plate, or "repelled" from it, just as
the two south poles of a magnet are repelled from each other.
At the next instant, when a reversal of current drives elec-
trons to the other plate, the electrons on the first plate are
repelled from it. The material between the plates, as an inno-
cent bystander, is caught in the thick of the argument. It feels
the electric stress across it as the electrons on the two metal
plates repel each other. The electrons within the material are
not easily freed from their atoms; but they do feel the tug of
this stress and they are displaced slightly, first to one side and
then to the other. This displacement causes friction and
124 Miracles Ahead!
induces heat in the wood or plastic, just as the current flow
in the metal induces heat.
In any type of induction heating, the speed with which
the current changes direction increases the speed with which
the heat can be developed in the material being heated. We
can comprehend the speed-up which results when induction
heating is applied, not at the typical sixty cycles per second of
our standard A.C. but at perhaps sixty million cycles per sec-
ond of R.F. heating.
When Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies fell into
Japanese hands, more than half the world's supply of tin fell
into their hands too. When our precious supply of tin was so
sharply curtailed, R.F. heating saved the day. R.F. heating
tripled our supply of tin overnight, by making it possible to
coat our tin cans with a coating one-third as thick as the coat-
ing formerly used. And resistance welding, which likewise
uses heat at R.F. speeds of control, has eliminated the use of
soldering in many places where it was heretofore used, free-
ing solder, which contains tin, for uses where it is still impera-
When it became more and more desirable to use plastics
and bonded plywoods in the construction of planes, both to
save metal and to cut weight, R.F. heating again came to the
rescue. The bottleneck in plywoods and plastics was the slow
drying time. And R.F. heating has broken this bottleneck,
giving us next year's production of propellers by tomorrow
The industrial use of X ray is speeding production as
efficiently as the widespread use of R.F. heating. A three-
hundred-thousand-volt X-ray machine is used to "see" through
four inches of steel, finding flaws in casts and weldings while
Your New Servants: The Electronic "Watchmen" 125
they are merely flaws and have not become the cause of a
tragic failure that could cost the lives of men. Recently a mil-
lion-volt machine was used to "see" through eight-inch armor
plate, and a new one-hundred-million-volt "induction elec-
tron accelerator" is being developed; so the future possibili-
ties promise detection of flaws in even more massive castings.
Airplanes are now being examined by X-ray units which
can see through five inches of steel, detecting any flaws.
Tomorrow, when this equipment is generally available for
commercial planes, it will save countless hours of checking
time and many lives.
The X-ray diffraction camera is used to show not merely
the flaws in a material but every element which goes into
making that material. The slightest variation in a substance
can be detected as quickly as we could distinguish chocolate
from angel cake.
The Photoelectric Tube
One of the most interesting vacuum tubes in common use
today is the photoelectric tube. In this tube the filament is
coated with caesium or another metal which will emit elec-
trons when light falls on the metal surface. When light shines
on the tube, current flows; when something casts a shadow
on the tube, the current stops instantly. By using various color
filters with the tube, it can be made to respond to one color
and not to another.
If the current from a photoelectric tube is fed to the grid
of such a triode as the thyratron, it can start and stop large
currents thus starting and stopping heavy machinery. It is
this tube which turns on a fountain as you bend to drink;
your head interrupts the current flow, a switch is released,
and the water is turned on. It is this tube which opens a heavy
door as you approach. Your shadow interrupts the light beam
on the tube, and the current flow; a switch is released, and a
spring opens the door.
Phototubes are helping to speed the war effort in many
places. In plants where trucks come in and out of doors sev-
eral times a day, the phototube opens the door. How long
does it take a truck driver to stop his truck at a door, climb
down, open the door, climb back up in the truck, start his
truck, roll through the open door, stop his truck again, climb
down, close the door, climb up in his truck again, and roll
on his way? Half a minute? Multiply that half minute by a
hundred starts and stops for a thousand trucks, and the loss
in man-minutes becomes a loss in man-hours. A doorman on
the job could save the truckman's time. But today we cannot
spare a man to "stand and wait." The phototube saves that
time for us. As the truck approaches, the phototube opens
the door, the truck rolls through without stopping, and the
phototube closes the door behind it. It would be possible to
use that same doorman as a guard, opening the door for trucks
of a certain fleet and refusing admission to all others. All that
would be necessary in equipping the phototube for this task
would be a color filter to protect it from all light rays but
those of a certain shade. Then, if the light source reaching
the tube were reflected from the passing trucks, rather than
interrupted by the passing trucks, only light reflected from
trucks of a predetermined color would pass through the color
filter and cause the current to flow in the phototube. In this
case the flow of current rather than the stopping of current
would activate the relays which operated the doors.
The ability of the phototube to distinguish shades of color
has been brought to a high stage of perfection in the spectro-
photometer, a device which uses the phototube. While the
human eye can sometimes distinguish ten thousand different
shades and colors, the spectrophotometer can distinguish two
million different shades!
Your New Servants: The Electronic "Watchmen" 127
Just as the phototube can distinguish shades of color with
a skill surpassing that of the human eye, so other electronic
watchmen can serve as inspectors of variations in weight and
thickness, and all other physical properties, and perform each
of these processes with superhuman skill and exactness.
Electronic watchmen can scan a sheet of metal running past
at hundreds of feet a minute, detect a flaw no larger than a
pinprick, and mark the metal for discard at that point and
all without stopping the flowing of production. When a sheet
of metal is fed into a press, electronic watchmen can stand
guard over the press, stopping the machinery if the sheet
varies by a thickness far less than that of tissue paper.
Amateur photographers know the saving in film that results
from the use of a light meter. This little meter, working on
the principle of a photoelectric tube, measures illumination
on a graduated scale and tells us how much light is reaching
the meter in terms of how much current flows from the
photocell. Thus we know how to set our cameras in order
to get good pictures in varying degrees of light.
In the world of tomorrow this same principle will be used
to measure illumination in our homes, schools, and factories.
It will not be necessary for a human watchman to read the
meter and adjust our lighting for efficiency, for the electronic
watchman will take care of that, safeguarding our eyesight,
by turning on artificial illumination the moment daylight fails.
On winter days, when light is insufficient or fails quickly,
our fallible human judgment will not subject us to an hour
or more of eyestrain before we become aware that the light
The same phototube could be used to switch on the lights
when one entered a room and what price light bills?
switch off the lights when we left a room. There would be a
great future for the man who would perfect such a device
for installation in hotel rooms! The device could count the
n8 Miracles Ahead!
people who entered, and not switch off the light until the last
person had left the room. In fact, phototubes used to control
traffic in one-way tunnels exercise just such ability to count
Doubtless we can all remember a rime in our childhood
when we watched the pharmacist at the corner drugstore
weighing the powders for a prescription. It was a long and
tedious process. But, thought we, it takes time to get things
exactly to a fraction of an ounce! Today electronic watch-
men can weigh thousands of objects, instantly discarding any
that are overweight or underweight by a thousandth part of
an ounce and do it all in seconds instead of minutes!
Testing the Ripeness of a Melon
Electronic inspectors adapt themselves exceptionally well
to conditions where the ebb and flow of production is irregu-
lar. When a sudden spurt of production occurs, they can
work tirelessly, day and night, with unfailing speed and ac-
curacy. When production stops, they present no labor prob-
lems. Fruit growers have saved themselves thousands of dollars
by using electronic inspectors for rapid sorting of fruit.
Overweight, underweight, and off-color fruit is discarded
with lightning speed as it whirls by at a speed which would
overtax a corps of human inspectors.
Electronic testers can even check the ripeness of a melon,
and tell you exactly when it reaches that state of luscious per-
fection that makes it worth the price! What a boon to the
purchaser! And the electronic tester makes its test without
bruising the fruit! What a boon to the merchant!
It is possible that someday an up-and-coming fruit market
will install a "melon checker," just as the chain drugstore in-
stalls a tube checker for radio tubes. Surely it would pay for
itself in a short time if flashing lights informed the prospec-
Your New Servants: The Electronic "Watchmen" 129
tive purchaser "Green" . . . "Firm" . . . "Just right!" . . .
"Dead ripe half price."
Checking Moving Objects
One of the most fascinating electronic instruments in use
today is the stroboscope. Let us imagine we are watching the
process as an engineer checks the revolutions per minute of
a whirling machine. He will bring his stroboscope, which in
appearance is simply a metal box with a strong flashlight
in one end of it, a dial on top, and a meter he can read. He
turns his "flashlight" on the machine and a strong glow of
light illuminates a whirling wheel. It seems to us to be a
steady light, but in reality it is flickering off and on so rapidly
that we cannot detect the flicker. "Watch the wheel," he
says, and we watch it. He turns his dial. A strange thing
happens. He has not touched the machine; we can hear it still
running at breakneck speed. But there, before our eyes, the
wheel slows down, wavers, and stops! Seeing is no longer
believing! Our ears tell us the wheel is still revolving. Our
eyes tell us it is standing still. The engineer reads his meter.
"Fifty-five hundred revolutions per minute," he says. He snaps
off the light of the stroboscope, and again the wheel revolves
before our eyes.
How is this possible? Because he has changed the fre-
quency of the flickering of the light in his stroboscope until it
is going off and on at exactly the speed at which the wheel
was revolving; and, therefore, each time the light illuminated
the wheel, it caught it in exactly the same position.
For a simple, quick, and accurate method of determining
the speed of a revolving wheel, the stroboscope is invaluable.
Likewise, it may be used to detect any "wobble" in the wheel
which may develop at a given speed, so that this fault can
be corrected before a breakdown occurs. It can also be used
130 Miracles Ahead!
to illuminate any moving object while a camera takes a series
of still-life pictures in all positions.
Just as the stroboscope makes it possible to check, study,
and test a machine without stopping it, so other electronic
devices make it possible to check other production without
stopping the flow of material. The colorimeter makes it pos-
sible to check samples of a liquid without taking a sample
and putting it through chemical analysis. As the liquid, in
process of production or use, flows through a glass tube, the
colorimeter analyzes it by color.
Welding has long made use of the advantages of electronic
controls, for electronic timers truly can give the advantage of
split-second timing. This accurate control has meant better
welds, and safer welds, with unfailing accuracy. And X-ray
examination of welding has furnished a further quick check
to determine perfection. Resistance welding is speeding up
the process of welding by making it possible not only to time
the heat of a weld to the split second but to control the
amount of heat applied to the weld, and to control it to a
fraction of a degree.
New Medical Servants
Electronics has long been the handmaiden of medicine. The
electrocardiograph has made it possible to record the picture
of the beating of a heart, giving the doctor a far more accu-
rate diagnosis of certain heart conditions than is possible by
any other means. It has enabled him to apply healing measures
to correct a trouble before a sudden failure was the first warn-
ing that anything was wrong. The electric knife has made
bloodless surgery possible. The use of X ray in diagnosis, in
setting bones, and in treating certain diseases is widespread.
A recent development, called the "laminograph" can X-ray
a given layer of tissue, without recording a picture of other
Your New Servants: The Electronic "Watchmen" 131
tissues. The electric probe is cutting from hours to mere min-
utes the time of searching for imbedded bits of metal in battle
wounds, and saving many lives.
Perhaps the most outstanding recent electronic develop-
ment, from the medical point of view, is the electron micro-
scope. It is revealing to our scientists a world that was too
minute for us to see, even with the aid of the finest optical
microscope. The electron microscope will be the new hand-
maiden of medicine penetrating the hitherto unknown se-
crets of diseases we have not yet conquered, such as infantile
paralysis and influenza.
Some of the greatest developments which will safeguard
health tomorrow will be preventive measures. Electronic
controls will make possible germ-free air, to guard against
disease; electronic devices will preserve food, guarding against
contamination. Electronic irradiation of food will store more
and more sunshine into what we eat.
There are countless other ways in which electronic devices
save time, man power, and materials in the world of industry.
Under the urgency of our present need, these electronic de-
vices are being used in ever-increasing quantities. After peace
has come, we, as consumers, will reap the benefits of these
speed-ups of production.
The American standard of living has been raised to its high
level by mass production, with its slogan of "better, faster,
cheaper." Many of us can remember back far enough to
compare the prices of the first automobiles, radios, and elec-
tric refrigerators with those of today. Time was when only
the town's richest man had any one of them, and when he got
it the neighbors gathered to view his treasure. But the slogan
of "better, faster, cheaper" has put them all within the reach
of the average man.
NEW TELEVISION AND RADIO
"How MUCH longer will television be 'just around the cor-
ner'?" Many of us have been a little puzzled about the ex-
tremely slow development of this field. As far as the layman
is concerned, there seems to be no reason why television sets
should not have been manufactured on just about the same
scale as radio sets prior to America's entry into the war.
A glance backward over the progress of radio will reveal
one or two surprising facts about this, however. Radio was
"just around the corner" in 1883 when Thomas Edison dis-
covered that there was a one-way flow of electricity through
the vacuum in an electric-light bulb. Radio seemed to draw
nearer when in 1903 J. A. Fleming developed the diode, a
two-element vacuum tube which could turn alternating cur-
rent into direct current. Radio seemed to have turned the cor-
ner when in 1907 Lee de Forest developed the triode, or
three-element tube with the grid the very heart of radio. But
when the first World War drew to a close in 1918 radio was
still "just around the corner." Not until 1921 did station
KDKA inaugurate broadcasting. Even then the situation
seemed none too promising.
Briefly, there was a lapse of more than forty years between
the discovery of the factors that form the basis of radio trans-
mission and the manufacture and sale of radio sets for gen-
eral use by the public. To be sure, a long period of education
Neiv Television and Radio Services 133
was essential; and this would not necessarily be the case with
television. But there are certain fundamental differences be-
tween radio transmission and reception and the transmission
of television that alter the problem.
In order to understand the problems of bringing television
to the homes throughout the length and breadth of America,
it is important to grasp the difference between transmission of
the radio waves used to transmit sound radio today and the
high-frequency waves which are used to transmit television.
Radio waves at a frequency of from five hundred and fifty
to fifteen hundred kilocycles can travel great distances because
they are reflected back from the ionosphere, a layer of charged
particles which encircles the earth. While the "ground waves"
from a radio station might travel in a straight line from the
transmitting antenna thirty or forty miles, these "sky waves"
which are reflected may shoot out into space two hundred
miles or more; strike the ionosphere; and be reflected back to
earth several times, traveling halfway around the earth or
But the waves at the frequencies used to transmit television
are not reflected back to earth. They travel in a straight line,
so that they can be sent only as far as one can see from the
antenna which is transmitting them. Of course, the higher the
antenna the farther the waves can be sent. But even from
the highest antenna available today, television reception can-
not be depended on farther away than an area fifty miles wide
around the transmitting station. We know that the networks
of sound-radio stations are hooked up by telephone lines. But
telephone cables cannot transmit television in a satisfactory
manner. The only type of cable which is satisfactory is a
type called "coaxial," and the expense of laying but one co-
axial cable across the continent would run into millions of
134 Miracles Ahead!
Television Service in England
In England, where distances are not such a barrier to cov-
erage of the country with television, there had been some very
interesting developments up to the time of the present conflict.
F. W. Camm 1 reports that the B.B.C. first incorporated
television transmission in its programmes in August of 1932.
Before that date the only programmes were those transmitted
from the Baird Company's transmitting station at Long Acre,
London. They passed by land-line to Savoy Hill (2 LO), and
thence to Brookman's Park. Later a studio was specially set
aside at Portland Place (Broadcasting House) for television
programmes on the Baird System.
Mr. Camm tells of another fascinating development of tel-
evision, which is called "noctovision":
"Another development of television is to be found in the
utilization of the infra-red rays for the illumination of the
subject being televised or transmitted. As is well known these
rays are invisible, and they are already frequently employed
in burglar alarms, etc. If, therefore, the object to be trans-
mitted is placed in a darkened room, and is scanned by means
of infra-red rays, the light variations would still be recorded
by the photo-electric cells and the image could be transmitted,
even though in complete darkness. This opens up possibilities
of seeing by night and a use for television in times of war is
Television Prospects in America
It is reasonable to expect that after the war we will see a
sudden expansion of the manufacture of television sets. As
James Stokley expressed it, "It is to be expected that the dis-
1 Camm, F. W., Television Manual. New York, Chemical Publishing
New Television and Radio Services 135
tribution of the television transmitters doubtless will follow
the general pattern of population distribution in the United
States. This population may be considered as centered prin-
cipally in 96 metropolitan areas set up by the Bureau of the
Census having 100,000 inhabitants or more. . . .
"These 96 metropolitan districts are usually taken as the
basis of marketing plans. Although they comprise only 1.2
per cent of the land area of the United States, they contain
45 per cent of its population. Assuming the maximum service
area of a television transmitter to be 25 miles in radius, how-
ever, we find that 96 such transmitters (one in each metro-
politan district of the United States) would lay down an ade-
quate signal over 6 per cent of the land area and more than
50 per cent of the population. . . .
"To choose an obvious example, New York is the first city
of the United States to have regular television service intended
for the public. The metropolitan district surrounding New
York comprises 8.9 per cent of the nation's inhabitants, 63 per
cent of the population of New York state, 72 per cent of
New Jersey's inhabitants, and 9 per cent of Connecticut's.
Chicago's metropolitan area includes 3.6 per cent of the popu-
lation of the United States and 57 per cent of the population
of the state of Illinois.
"In the 1927 television days, one experimenter said, 'If we
can tell a face from a fish, we think we're doing pretty well!'
"Modern television, which is now being broadcast and re-
ceived by a small number of sets from a handful of transmit-
ters in a few cities, is a vast improvement, and is approxi-
mately equal in quality to good home movies. In 1941 the
U. S. Government finally authorized commercial operation
of television stations, but the advent of the war, and the cessa-
tion of the building of civilian radio receivers, halted the
development which otherwise would then have come. How-
ever, experimentation did not entirely cease; some continued
136 Miracles Ahead!
with war applications as the goal, so that after the peace tele-
vision should be ready for a rapid enlargement, which will
undoubtedly far surpass that of sound broadcasting in the
post- World War I days."
According to Mr. Stokley, televised moving pictures in
America have successfully utilized the device known as the
Schmidt camera. He says, "At the New York demonstration,
the projector was sixty feet away from the screen, yet the
picture, fifteen feet high and twenty feet wide, was almost as
bright as an ordinary motion picture. Perhaps, in the future,
with such a device, theatres will regularly show programs of
events happening in other parts of the world, at the same time
that they are occurring."
The Actor Comes into His O e um
Mr. Lenox R. Lohr gives a very interesting picture of the
"behind the scenes" problem of broadcasting television drama,
as compared with sound broadcasting and play production
in a theater: 1
"In first-class theatre productions, at least several weeks are
allowed for rehearsals before the opening night, but the cost
of television obliges a producer and actors to prepare a 30- or
6o-min. performance for broadcasting in 5 to 20 hrs. of
"Another requirement of television production makes it
difficult for sound-radio actors to appear on programs. Tele-
vision actors must learn lines by heart; and although radio
actors are skilled in the subtle shading of words, they have
not learned to coordinate words with action. By no rational
process can we adapt the usual microphone technique to tele-
vision, because in television, as on the stage, we must follow
1 Lohr, Lenox Riley, Television Broadcasting. New York, McGraw-Hill
Book Company, Inc., 1940.
New Television and Radio Services 137
Shakespeare's prescription and 'suit the action to the word.'
Even actors trained for motion pictures find it necessary to
adapt themselves to television.
"In motion pictures, the action is shot scene by scene with
convenient intermissions. The director rehearses his cast until
he is satisfied with its performance. The actor need not mem-
orize lines for more than one or two scenes at a time. After
shooting a long succession of scenes, the final picture is assem-
bled by editors in the cutting room. The actors themselves
seldom realize the full scope of the action until they have seen
the completed picture on a screen.
"In television, the actor must know his lines verbatim
before he steps up to the camera. There are no interruptions
or pauses in a television performance. There are no retakes,
such as may occur in motion pictures to achieve an improved
performance. In television, if a mistake is made it must be
'covered up' quickly and naturally. This requires considerable
adroitness on the part of the actors. When the show is under
way, the player is on his own, for better or for worse; and
if he forgets his lines, he must improvise. In television, it is
hard to prompt a stumbling actor. The producer sits in the
control booth behind a plate glass window, and the only way
he can reach an actor is through the studio manager with
whom he is in telephonic communication. The actor must
shoulder the responsibility of making a scene continuous. . . ."
Mr. Lohr believes that one of the most significant fields of
television broadcast will be in educational and news broad-
"Such material has contributed much to the success of sound
radio, but introduction of long verbal dissertations soon tires
the most patient listener. Television promises to offset this
serious handicap to a large extent, because it broadcasts ani-
mated pictures that illustrate ideas more rapidly and effec-
tively than words.
138 Miracles Ahead!
"In attempting to illustrate radio news with pictures, we
are prone to follow the technique developed by such news
magazines as Life, The Illustrated London News, and UIllus-
tration. . . . Pictorial news broadcasting may in time become
one of television's most important public service functions.
For here the program staff has at its disposal the means of
depicting history exactly as it takes place. No matter if a
news broadcast is unrehearsed and even if it appears amateur-
ish, the ingredients of drama and interest are present to a
In summarizing the probable future of television develop-
ment in America, Mr. Lohr said:
"The prices of the receivers were admittedly high. They
ranged commonly from $175 to $700 in the early months; at
the time of writing there seems to be a trend toward reduc-
tion of them. A price of $125 to $250 is within range of many
families whose income is less than $2,000 a year, but such
families are reluctant to part with so substantial a sum unless
there is reasonable assurance that the receiver will not become
"This question of the cost of receiving sets is the basic fac-
tor in obtaining 'mass circulation' for the broadcaster. The
necessarily high cost of the receiver the technical equivalent
of about three first-class broadcast receivers can not be re-
duced without painstaking effort. However, assembly-line
methods, a supply of used receivers, and the effect of compe-
tition in bringing down the cost of television sets may be
counted on to make sets widely available in the not-too-
distant future. The problem is, of course, to market the re-
ceiver at a price within reach of a large number of buyers,
to gauge the market accurately, and to keep factory capacity
geared to the demand for receivers."
Mr. Lohr takes a very levelheaded view of the possibilities
New Television and Radio Services 139
of rapid expansion of television, and his words of 1940 are
equally applicable today:
"Sales areas for television receivers must be governed en-
tirely by the distribution of television transmitters. The lim-
ited range of television transmitters also definitely limits the
extent to which the entire country can be considered a tele-
The Fighting Marts "Nerve Center"
Today many peacetime industries have ceased to function.
Not so the radio industry. Radios for civilian use are not
being built. There are no new designs in cabinets coming out
at the moment. But that is the only type of radio equipment
which is not being built. The "engine" of the radio the
chassis that is housed in the cabinet and all the parts which
go to make up the "insides" are being built in quantities
undreamed of before the war.
For the nerve center of fighting equipment today is the
radio, and the vast amount of radio equipment used by our
armed forces is almost beyond comprehension. Every plane
that rolls off the assembly line; every tank, every jeep; every
battleship, cruiser, submarine, and PT boat each needs its
radio equipment. The foot soldier has his "walkie-talkie" and
the paratrooper his "jumpie-talkie."
Even the rubber life rafts of the airplanes are now being
equipped with radios. Sappers use radio devices to detect the
presence of mines, so that fields can be cleared of those death-
dealing machines before they can play havoc with our advanc-
ing forces. There is a portable radio station which can be
buried on a hostile shore and left unattended. For weeks on
end it will faithfully transmit information about the weather,
to help our forces plan a surprise landing at the right time.
140 Miracles Ahead!
Therefore, radio equipment though it is not being supplied
for civilian use is being built for the Signal Corps, more than
three times as much of it every month as was ever built in
Indestructible Radios for the Armed Forces
Not only is it being built in these tremendous quantities,
but it is being built with a durability never demanded in
The motto of the Signal Corps is "Get the message
through!" Today our soldiers must get the message through
with radio equipment and do it under conditions which
would put a peacetime radio out of commission in ten min-
Suppose you dropped your radio into the bathtub on
Thursday, left it there overnight, put it in the oven Friday
morning and baked it, put it in the electric refrigerator on
Saturday and turned the cold controls on so high that every-
thing in the icebox became a brittle stick. And then, on Sun-
day, suppose you took your radio for a ride in a jeep, and
dashed madly through a town where "block busters" were
exploding with force enough to shatter windows a mile away.
As you jounced and jolted through the town, over shell holes
that had been streets, would you expect to tune in your
favorite symphony? Would you demand that every note be
clear as a bell?
But the Signal Corps must get the message through under
conditions such as these. On battleships, when the "kick" of
the huge guns is sufficient to shove the vessel sideways through
the water as you'd shove a cake of soap in a washbowl, radio
equipment of precision and delicacy must function all day
and all night and the next day too. And it must not fail.
On smaller craft, hurtling through the seas with mountains
New Television and Radio Services 141
of salt water crashing over their decks, radios must not fail.
In Flying Fortresses, where a crew of men must function
as one with split-second timing, communication among them
must not fail.
If your favorite radio serviceman were in Cuba instead of
around the corner, you'd want the durability of Army radio
equipment in your peacetime radio. You'd know that if your
radio "went bad" you'd lose your favorite programs for too
long a time. The radios of our soldiers often must operate far
from the nearest serviceman. And if a soldier's radio goes bad
it may cost his life.
For the radio today is not only the nerve center of mili-
tary strategy; it is the life line of safety. Many of the most
brilliant developments of today are designed to save the lives
of our men.
Radio Safety Devices
The blind-landing instruments have saved the lives of count-
less flyers. A fighter plane, returning from a mission, speeds
through the black night at five miles a minute. The pilot
flicks a switch. A vertical hairline crosses a dial toward a cen-
ter mark and passes that mark. Off course a bit. The pilot
changes his course until the hairline is exactly on the center
mark. He's on course now, heading for home. But how far
away is he? That is a crucial question when you're covering
five miles a minute. A light on his dashboard flashes. He has
passed a marker beacon. Twenty miles to go. He cuts his
speed. Another light flashes. Five miles. If there were a light
on his landing field, he could see it. But there is no light. He
hurtles into black nothingness. Suddenly a horizontal hairline
appears on the dial and climbs toward center. He smiles. He's
reached his "glide path" now. A little high he'd overshoot
his mark. He brings the nose down a bit. The horizontal line
142 Miracles Ahead!
wavers, and then stops on the center mark of the dial. He's
on his glide path now. Nothing to do but hold the plane there.
Just as a child slides down a sliding board, the pilot glides
down an invisible incline, made by a radio beam, and sets his
plane down on the runway as smoothly as a motorist would
drive into his familiar driveway in broad daylight.
Today the total output of perfected blind-landing equip-
ment may go to our military needs. But tomorrow such devel-
opments will add to the safety of civilian flight.
Today the absolute altimeter warns our fighter planes of
just how high aboveground they are. Tomorrow civilian
planes will be equipped with this lifesaving device, and colli-
sions with mountains will be prevented.
Today the radio detector, Radar, "sees" a submarine a hun-
dred miles away, and directs the bomber on its course to sink
the submarine. Tomorrow that same radio detector will enable
a searching plane to find a disabled vessel or a lifeboat a hun-
dred miles away, at night, and will direct the searchers to the
The exigencies of war have compelled the best brains of
the radio and television fields to think faster, harder, more
carefully, than ever before. Future developments in these
fields will be based upon the phenomenal achievements of the
past thirty months.
A Word about Frequencies
Since radio plays such a vital part today, and is destined to
play even a greater part in our peacetime world of tomor-
row, it behooves us all to have some idea of "just how radio
works." Hence the following explanation is offered to explain
it briefly, in its simplest terms.
When we speak of sending music or pictures by electricity
through wires or through space, we do not mean that the
New Television and Radio Services 143
actual sound or picture travels through the wires or through
the air. Electric current travels through wires; radio waves
travel through space. The sound or picture which is to be
sent to some distant point by wire must first cause a varia-
tion in electric current. It is this variation in electric current
which is sent through the wire. Likewise, a sound or a pic-
ture which is to travel by radio waves through space must
cause a variation in those radio waves. It is this variation
which travels through space.
When we talk into a telephone, we make sound waves that
travel through the air and vibrate against a metal disk, moving
it. This vibrating disk, in turn, affects electric current, which
varies in time with the vibrations of the disk. This varying
electric current travels through the telephone lines. At the
receiver on the other end of the line, the action is reversed.
Here the electric current (which is varying in time with the
disk against which we spoke) affects a second disk in the
receiver and sets it in motion. This second disk, vibrating in
time with the variations in the electric current (and conse-
quently in time with the first disk), starts sound waves through
the air. These sound waves which reach the ear of the listener
are the exact repetition of the sound waves which made the
first disk vibrate.
The transmission of sound by radio is similar to the trans-
mission of sound by telephone. First the sound waves vibrate
against a microphone and set it in motion. This vibration of
the microphone causes electric current to vary in time with
the vibrations of the microphone. These variations in the elec-
tric current are used to vary or "modulate" the steady alter-
nating current which is alternating at the "frequency" on
which that transmitting station broadcasts. Most of our sta-
tions today use A.M., or "amplitude modulation," varying the
"size" of the wave. The P.M. stations use "frequency modu-
lation," varying the frequency of the wave. Whether A.M.
144 Miracles Ahead!
or F.M. is used, the "carrier" wave is transmitted from the
antenna, varied or "modulated" in time with the variations of
the microphone, just as the electric current in the telephone
lines varies in time with the disk in the mouthpiece.
At the "receiver" in our homes (just as at the receiver of
a telephone) the process is reversed; the variations on the
carrier waves (which are exactly "in time" with the vibra-
tions of the microphone back in the studio) affect the cone
of the loud-speaker on our radio receiver, and it vibrates in
time with those original vibrations and sets up sound waves
which repeat the original sound.
Sending Pictures by Radio
When a picture is sent by wire, again we have the steps of
varying or modulating electric current in time with certain
elements in the picture and, at the receiver end, of turning
these variations into the picture again. When a picture is sent
by radio, we vary or modulate the carrier wave at the trans-
mitter in time with certain elements in the picture; at the
receiver we "demodulate" the carrier wave, or take these vari-
ations from it again and turn them back into the picture.
To understand the principle of television, examine a pho-
tograph in a newspaper through a reading glass. You'll note
that the "picture" is made up of a series of dots. The coarser
the dots, the less distinct the picture will be. The finer the
dots, the clearer the picture will be.
If you were going to send this picture by radio, you would
"scan" the picture with a beam of electrons, beginning at the
upper left corner, crossing the picture to the right side, mov-
ing down one row of dots and crossing the picture again, and
so on until you had "scanned" every row of dots from top to
bottom. Now if the dots of the picture could cause electric
current to vary, just as the vibrating disk of a microphone,
New Television and Radio Services 145
and you "modulated" a carrier wave with these variations,
you could transmit the variations of dots in the picture just
as you transmitted the variations of the sound. If your receiver
contained a device which was in time with, or "synchronized"
with, the back-and-f orth movement of the beam that scanned
the picture, you could repeat the picture on a screen in your
receiver, a dot at a time, just as it was picked up from the
transmitter, a dot at a time.
If you have read the chapter on electronics, you will recall
the photocell a vacuum tube which contains a material
that will emit electrons when light falls on it. The icono-
scope, a tube that is used in television to transmit pictures,
contains a screen made up of thousands of tiny photocells,
each no larger than the dot in the photograph you looked at
in the newspaper. The picture to be transmitted is focused
on the screen, just as you focus a picture on the film in your
camera. As the picture is focused on the screen, the tiny
photocells emit electrons the number of electrons each cell
emits depending on the brilliance of the light or the density of
the shadow which is focused on it. The more electrons a cell
emits, the more positive becomes its charge.
We might compare the screen of cells at this point with a
newspaper picture and say that these little cells, with the
variations in positive charge that they have, are the electric
black dots and white spaces of a newspaper picture.
Then from an "electron gun" a stream of electrons scans
the picture, a row at a time, and each little cell reacts in
accordance with the amount of positive charge it now has.
The variation of each cell is used to modulate the carrier
wave which is transmitted from the television broadcasting
station, just as the variations in electric current from the
microphone vary the carrier wave for a sound broadcast.
At the receiver another electron gun flashes back and forth
across a screen which "fluoresces" or lights up in accordance
146 Miracles Ahead!
with the varying number of electrons which reach it. When
the original variations on the carrier wave are fed to the elec-
tron gun in the receiver mechanism, the number of electrons
emitted from it varies "in time" with the variations in the
reactions of the electric black dots and white spaces of the
original picture, and the picture is repeated on the receiver
screen, a dot at a time, just as it was picked up from the
Why do we see a complete picture and not a dot at a time?
Because the electron gun scans the picture so rapidly, going
from left to right and from top to bottom so fast, that it makes
a complete picture in one-thirtieth of a second!
Most of us are familiar with the principle of the motion
picture. We have looked at a "strip" of film, seeing picture
after picture with changes so slight that it is hard to detect
these changes unless we look at quite a long strip of film.
"Movies," as we know, are possible because the human eye
cannot see fast enough to distinguish the different pictures
when they are flashed on a screen at a speed of more than
sixteen different pictures, or "frames," a second. Therefore
we see, not different pictures, but a continuous flow of action.
Television, too, flashes complete pictures, or "frames," on
the screen of a receiver too fast for us to distinguish the dif-
ferent pictures. It flashes thirty "frames" a second, although
it must flash each frame a dot at a time! If the picture were
four hundred dots high and five hundred dots wide, the beam
of electrons scanning the picture would cause two hundred
thousand variations in the electric current in scanning the
picture once. In sending moving pictures by television, to
send thirty complete frames a second the electronic beam
would vary the current six million times a second!
There we come to one great difference between television
broadcasting and our everyday sound broadcasting. We do
New Television and Radio Services 147
our commercial broadcasting on a "band" of frequencies 950
kilocycles wide from 550,000 to 1,500,000. Each station
transmitting sound programs is assigned a fixed frequency
somewhere within this band and is given a "side band" on
each side of the fixed frequency, which is five thousand cycles
wide or a band ten thousand wide in all. Our commercial
sound broadcasting allows room for ninety-five such bands
each ten kilocycles wide. But what can we do with a tele-
vision "band" from four million to six million cycles wide?
Our whole sound broadcasting range cannot accommodate
one such station! To try to handle television on our com-
mercial sound frequencies would have the general effect of
trying to drive a ten-ton truck through a cottage door.
These, then, are the problems and potentialities of the devel-
opment of television tomorrow. The potentialities are truly
miraculous. The problems are vast; they are the problems of
handling the higher-frequency waves. Equipment must be
engineered to handle them; coaxial cable must be provided to
carry them. But the production of today is solving those prob-
lems for us. High-frequency equipment is being designed and
built in vast quantities, by mass-production methods. That
production and the equipment to continue it will be ready to
serve our peacetime needs tomorrow. Therefore the future of
television is bright.
What of F.M. frequency modulation? In two years it has
had an astounding growth. Stations broadcasting with fre-
quency modulation expanded from one station to forty-five
stations, in that length of time. F.M. receivers half a million
of them are in use today. And their delighted owners know
a beauty and fidelity of reception, and a freedom from static,
that A.M. receivers seldom approximate. Here, too, mass pro-
duction of equipment engineered to work on the frequencies
used in F.M. will be ready to serve us tomorrow.
148 Miracles Ahead!
So the most conservative engineer will admit that the future
of radio is full of miracles. Tomorrow our "main" radio will
probably be a combination set A.M., F.M., phonograph, and
television screen. And mass production will quickly change it
from a luxury of the few to a pleasure of the many.
THE DISCOVERIES made in developing plastics during the past
three years have increased this nation's potential wealth
beyond any possible calculation. As early as 1940, industry
had created plastic substances that were as thin as tissue, as
fine as silk, as elastic as rubber, more transparent than glass,
lighter than wood or aluminum, and tough enough to stop
bullets. Far from being mere substitutes for critical materials,
these plastics are proving as good or better than the materials
Plastics synthetic (man-made) materials that can be
molded into permanent shapes have gone to war in a big
way. John M. Wetherby of the Society of the Plastics Indus-
try pointed out that prior to the outbreak of war the plastics
industry had concerned itself mainly with the production of
such everyday things as electrical appliances, radios, parts for
automobiles, decorative buttons, and hundreds of similar
items designed for eye appeal and general civilian well-being.
Yet when the armed forces outlined their needs, plastics
were quickly put to work to replace both scarce metal and
rubber in war equipment. Plastics are used for pistol grips
and bayonet handles. This material will stand cold of 40
degrees below zero without cracking and heat of 170 degrees
above zero without softening or blistering. Plastic linings also
are used in combat helmets, and for goggles to protect a sol-
dier's eyes against the glare of desert sands or Arctic snows.
"While all the present uses of plastics cannot be detailed,
for obvious reasons," states Mr. Wetherby, "some idea of the
150 Miracles Ahead!
part which they are playing in our war effort may be gleaned
from the fact that each of our new battleships incorporates
well over 1,000 different plastic applications. The wide use of
these materials in our aircraft is already pretty generally rec-
ognized, ranging all the way from the plastic bomber nose of
high optical and aerodynamic qualities to the plastic bonded
plywood fuselages and wings used on glider, trainer and
freight-carrying planes. Today more than 200 different air-
craft parts are being made from plastics and more are under
He added that plastics not only were proving desirable alter-
natives for scarce metals where great strength and toughness
is required but also were being used to advantage in applica-
tions formerly associated with rubber, wood, and glass.
Growing military demands have greatly reduced the supply
of certain plastics for civilian use. One of the most critical of
the plastic materials is jewel-like methyl methacrylate, which
is probably best known for its application in bomber noses,
navigator domes, and cockpit enclosures. Mr. Wetherby said
production of this plastic has been stepped up, but it is doubt-
ful whether the civilian will get much of it until the war
A lot of other materials formerly used by civilians have dis-
appeared faster than a person can say methyl methacrylate.
But the new alloys, plastics, and chemicals that are giving the
United States the world's greatest fighting machine will make
this nation a better place to live in when the Axis has been
put out of business.
"Chemicals are essential raw materials," explains Dr. Emil
Ott, research director of the Hercules Powder Company.
"Today we use them in planes, tanks, ammunition, and to
relieve war shortages. This war research is providing a vast
storehouse of basic knowledge. Tomorrow we will use what
we are learning about these essential chemicals for civilian
Chemistry Magic 151
planes, automobiles, houses, food, machines, clothing, cos-
metics and thousands of other every day articles."
Precious Synthetic Rubber
The dozens of products now being made by our huge syn-
thetic-rubber industry should perhaps be called "soft plastics,"
according to Gerald Wendt, science editor of Time maga-
zine. Natural rubber, he adds, is but one of the soft plastics,
as natural rosin and amber belong among the hard plastics.
"Whether natural rubber will occupy a larger place among
them than amber and rosin do among the miraculous, tailor-
made, hard plastics will appear within the next decade," he
In June, 1943, Rubber Director William M. JefTers prom-
ised that synthetic-rubber plants would produce 250,000 to
275,000 tons of rubber in 1943. He added that by the first
quarter of 1944 production at an estimated rate of 850,000
tons a year, far in excess of imports of crude rubber, will be
reached. The crude-rubber production of the world amounted
to a million tons yearly, but our chemists will produce almost
that much in less than two years.
Chemists will get more rubber from 40 acres of factory
space than rubber growers could get from 50,000 acres of
plantation. One synthetic-rubber plant with a rated capacity
of 90,000 long tons of rubber a year will match the output of
a 270,000 acre plantation. Such a plantation would have more
than 24,000,000 trees and need at least 90,000 workers. It
would cost about $80,000,000 to bring such a plantation into
production. The one synthetic-rubber plant used in this
example cost $56,000,000 and is operated by only 1,250 men.
The general-purpose synthetic Buna S was selected for the
greater part of the nation's synthetic-rubber program. "It isn't
rubber," said H. B. Pushee, chief chemist of General Tire &
152 Miracles Ahead!
Rubber Co., "but it's the best substitute we have." Others
agree that Buna S is the synthetic most similar to natural rub-
ber in processing and performance characteristics. It may be
vulcanized with sulphur and rubber accelerators and cured to
hard rubber. Its resistance to atmospheric deterioration is
slightly higher than that of natural rubber. Buna S has been
found satisfactory for use in passenger tires, without the addi-
tion of natural rubber. Although coarser and rougher than
natural rubber, Buna S has no offensive odor (only a faint
tarry odor). When the first Buna S tires hit the market in
1944 the motorist will be unable to tell the difference between
them and the prewar natural-rubber tires.
On heavy-duty tires Buna S must be mixed with natural
rubber to get best results. Thirty per cent of natural rubber
is used for heavy-duty treads and carcasses and about 10 per
cent for the tire tubes.
How Synthetic Rubber Is Made
The word "buna" was first used in Germany "bu" stand-
ing for butadiene and "na" coming from natrium, the classi-
cal name of sodium. The letter S stands for styrene. Buna S
is a copolymer produced by the polymerization of approxi-
mately three parts of butadiene with one part of styrene. Let
us start at the beginning and translate that sentence into non-
technical terms if possible.
A monomer is a material composed of molecules corre-
sponding to the individual units of a polymer.
A polymer is a giant molecule formed when hundreds of
thousands of the original molecules of the material have been
linked up together end to end like boxcars in a train. This
linking together, or polymerization, gives a rubberlike mate-
rial its bounce, elasticity, and resiliency. Natural rubber is a
polymer of a single material called isoprene, but most syn-
Chemistry Magic 153
thetic rubbers are copolymers of two or more ingredients
mixed in such proportions as to give them rubberlike charac-
teristics. Thus a copolymer is a giant molecule formed when
two or more unlike monomers are polymerized together.
Chemists explain that, if a polymer is like a long train of box-
cars, a copolymer is mixed freight boxcars and tank cars
alternating in any proportion, such as three boxcars and one
tank car (which is the case of butadiene and styrene in
Buna S is called GR-S by officials; the "GR" means simply
"Government Rubber." Here is how it is made. Butadiene, a
complex gas composed of hydrogen and carbon (obtained
from petroleum or alcohol from molasses, corn, or other
grains), is mixed with styrene (from coal tar or from petro-
leum) in a solution of soapy water. They form a milky liquid
latex, similar to that of natural rubber. With heat and the
addition of a catalyst (an agent that speeds a chemical reac-
tion without being affected itself) the minute droplets are
stirred until they change into solid rubberlike particles of
Buna S (GR-S). The particles (flox or crumbs) of synthetic
rubber rise to the surface of the solution and are screened
off. Then they are washed, the excess water is pressed out, and
the material is dried and pressed in seventy-five-pound bales.
Bless John Barleycorn
There was considerable controversy in 1942 over whether
petroleum or alcohol from agricultural products was best for
the production of butadiene in the Buna S program. As the
program got under way, alcohol proved to be the quickest
way to get the synthetic rubber because there were plenty of
stills, mostly whiskey, ready to produce it, while the petro-
leum industry had to build special equipment. Chemists agree,
however, that petroleum alcohol in the long run will prove to
154 Miracles Ahead!
be better than grain-made alcohol for the production of
butadiene. Alcohol made in oil refineries will cost much less
than that from grain.
Buna S is being produced in several plants operated for the
government by the United States Rubber Company, Fire-
stone, Goodrich, and Goodyear. Here are some of the syn-
thetic rubbers that have important places in our program: 1
Buna N type, copolymers of butadiene and acrylonitrile.
They include the following: Perbunan (Standard Oil Com-
pany of New Jersey and Firestone Tire & Rubber Company) ;
Hycar (Hycar Chemical Company, owned by Phillips Petro-
leum Company and B. F. Goodrich Company); Chemigum
(Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company); Thiokol RD (Thi-
okol Corporation, associated with Dow Chemical Company).
The Buna NTs are similar to rubber in being vulcanized
with sulphur and rubber accelerators, and may be cured to
hard rubber; but in some operations they are harder to handle
than natural rubber. They are used principally in oil and
gasoline hose, tank linings, packings, gaskets, printers' blan-
kets, and other products where resistance to oil is important
(such as oil-resistant soles and heels).
Neoprene, a polymer of chloroprene. It was introduced by
the Du Pont Company in 1932 under the name Duprene and
proved to be the first commercially successful synthetic rub-
ber. It is a good general-purpose rubber with good resistance
to chemicals and oil and excellent resistance to heat, air, and
light better, in fact, than any other rubber. It is harder to
handle, however, than natural rubber or the Bunas in cer-
tain operations. Neoprene is used for truck and bus tires, inner
tubes, footwear, shoe soles, sheet goods, and many other indus-
trial and general purposes.
1 On November 9, 1943, the United States Rubber Company announced
the development of uskol, the sixth major type of synthetic rubber to be
discovered. It has great resistance to oils, fuels, solvents and other penetrat-
Chemistry Magic 155
Butyl rubber, a copolymer of isobutylene and small amounts
of other unsaturated hydrocarbons such as butadiene or iso-
prene. Flexon, a modification of this type, is called "bathtub
butyl" because it can be made with comparatively simple
equipment. Butyl is spoken of as "an ace in the hole" in our
synthetic program, and could be produced at low cost quickly
from abundant materials to replace natural rubber in many
applications. Standard Oil of New Jersey controls the proc-
ess. Butyl's general resistance to deterioration is good, but its
physical properties are lower than those of natural rubber.
It may be used to advantage in applications where resistance
to chemicals and oxidation (it is one of the few materials
resistant to the poison gas lewisite) are more important fac-
tors than tensile strength and elasticity.
Thiokols of types A, B, and FA, made from ethylene di-
chloride and sodium tetrasulfide or from dichloroethyl ether
and sodium tetrasulfide or from modifications and combina-
tions of the two. They were developed by the Thiokol Cor-
poration and are now being manufactured by the Dow Chem-
ical Company for the Thiokol Corporation, which handles the
sale. (Thiokol RD, a Buna N synthetic rubber, must not be
confused with this group of Thiokols.) The Thiokols have
better resistance to aromatic hydrocarbons (such as benzene,
naphthalene, and toluene, which cause rubber to swell and
deteriorate) than natural rubber or other synthetic rubbers.
They do not, however, have as high physical properties as the
other synthetics. Where resistance to deterioration is more
important than resilience, tensile strength, resistance to abra-
sion, and extremes of temperature, as in certain industrial uses,
the Thiokols have been successfully substituted for natural
1 56 Miracles Ahead!
Synthetic Rubber Is Here to Stay
Will synthetic rubber drive out and take the place of nat-
ural rubber when we have won back the Far Eastern planta-
tions from the Japanese? If the war should end at an early
date, natural rubber probably would return to its former posi-
tion, since synthetic rubber will not be sufficiently developed
by that time. A longer war might permit the development of
synthetic rubber to a point where it could compete success-
fully. And in case of a very long war the synthetic material
would be improved to a point where it would be better and
cheaper than natural rubber.
Chemists say that Buna S now costs less than thirty cents
per pound and they expect to cut this to ten or fifteen cents
in a few years, as compared with the ten-year average of
twelve and four-fifths cents a pound for natural rubber in the
New York market from 1931 through 1940. They expect the
synthetic's greater resistance to acids, oil, sunlight, and other
corrosive agencies to win it a big market regardless of what
happens to natural-rubber prices.
Untapped Resources in Natural Rubber
"What, then, of the Far Eastern plantations?" asks the New
York Times. "Will natural rubber go the way of natural
indigo? Salvation lies in research. Though natural rubber is
modified for a thousand different uses, it remains essentially
the same. Suppose that the milk of the tree were chemically
treated as, for instance, coal is treated for the extraction of
chemical values. New life would be breathed into an industry
on which millions depend for a living. Homologues of rub-
ber could probably be devised which would be just as good
and cheap as the synthetic varieties. Compounds could be
Chemistry Magic 157
won which would compete with those of the coal-tar
industry. In a word, the history of petroleum would be
An Exploit of the Century
Dr. Charles M. A. Stine, vice-president of E. I. du Pont de
Nemours and Company, promises that "the newest and most
versatile of plastics will be available after this war on a scale
beyond all previous conceptions. The high-pressure synthesis
of ammonia, one of the major chemical exploits of the cen-
tury," he asserted, "will have taken on an industrial status
that, in terms of new producing capacity, may be comparable
to the discovery of a sixth continent.
"The amount of fertilizer chemicals that this new capacity
will be able to supply farmers will be so large that the trends
of agriculture might be changed.
"And these are," he continued, "but one group of a hun-
dred or more products stemming from this high-pressure
synthesis, which utilizes air, coal and water as its building
blocks. We will have glass that is unbreakable and glass that
will float, wood that won't burn and laminations of plastics
and wood that will compete with structural metals.
"Hosiery derived from air, water and coal, a wonder of
prewar days, is but the forerunner of many innovations from
the same source, ranging from shoes that contain no leather
and window screens that contain no wire to machinery bear-
ings that contain no metal.
"Today we produce to destroy, but tomorrow we will pro-
duce to build. Give us a victorious peace and the freedom of
enterprise it should guarantee, and our progress will be un-
precedented. Let our swords be mighty and mighty indeed
will be our plowshares," he concluded.
158 Miracles Ahead!
Fabulous New Wealth
Chemistry has ninety-two basic elements to work with in
making the thousands of useful articles in the world today.
Of the ninety-two elements twelve alone make up more than
99 per cent of the known parts of the earth the atmosphere,
the earth's crust, and the ocean. Oxygen and silicon, which
occur mainly as silica or silicon dioxide in sand and quartz,
are by far the most widely distributed. They form together
about three-quarters of the materials of the earth's surface.
Aluminum is the most common metal, occurring in granite
(feldspar) and in clay. Carbon, which is the chief element in
substances associated with living things, forms less than .02
per cent of the material of the earth's crust.
The Great Compounds
Analysis of certain compounds such as cellulose (C 6 H 10
O 5 ), the chief organic compound in wood pulp and cotton;
ethyl alcohol (C 2 H 5 OH), the active principle in intoxicat-
ing liquors; eugenol (C 10 H 12 O 2 ), which gives cloves their
taste and odor; and vinegar, which is dilute acetic acid (CH 3
CO-OH) establishes this important fact: all are composed
of just three elements carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen but
a complicated arrangement of the atoms of these elements
into molecules produces the different compounds above.
There are hundreds of such compounds. In fact, the com-
pounds of carbon total anywhere from 225,000 to 500,000,
while the known compounds of all elements other than car-
bon amount to no more than twenty-six thousand. Organic
chemistry, the study of the compounds of carbon, touches
every phase of our modern civilization. The cell, which is
the unit of all living matter, is made up of compounds of car-
bon. Our food, textiles for clothing, wood for furniture and
Chemistry Magic 159
buildings, paper, gasoline for our automobiles, and thousands
of other materials such as dyes, medicines, drugs, perfumes,
soaps, rubber, and explosives are all carbon compounds.
The Super-super By-Product: Coal Tar
For many years man has sought to take nature's products
coal, water, wood, cotton, petroleum apart and then put
them together again to effect a chemical synthesis. Nature her-
self is tops in the field of chemical synthesis. For instance, the
changing of mulberry leaves, by a worm, into silk and the
formation of sugar, vegetable oils, and cotton fibers from
water, air, and sunshine.
When bituminous coal is heated in an enclosed vessel, it
gives off gases and leaves coke (used in steelmaking) as a
residue. Coal tar also is left in the tubes and containers. At
first, its appearance was considered a nuisance and chemists
were put to work to get rid of it. Coal tar is now the basis of
the great chemical industries of dyes, modern explosives, dis-
infectants, synthetic perfumes, drugs, and synthetic resins.
The study of coal-tar derivatives progressed rapidly after
the eighteen-year-old William Perkin produced the first coal-
tar dye, mauve, in 1856. Till then the dyeing of all textiles had
been carried out with plant juices like madder or indigo and
with animal excretions like the ancient Tyrian purple, pro-
duced by a snail-like Mediterranean shellfish. In 1868 two
German chemists synthesized alizarin (turkey red), the col-
oring matter of the madder plant from anthracene, and soon
ruined France's madder industry. The synthesis of indigo and
Tyrian purple followed in later years.
While work on the aniline colors continued, other chem-
ists established the make-up of the simpler active constituents
of medicinal herbs and made similar drugs from coal tars.
Among them were salicylic acid for treating rheumatism,
160 Miracles Ahead!
aspirin, phenacetin, and sleep inducers like sulphonal and
veronal. The antiseptic properties of coal tar speeded up the
search for new antiseptics, of which crude phenol, carbolic
acid, was one of the first introduced, to be followed in recent
years by the amazingly effective sulfa drugs. Their use on
burns at Pearl Harbor against streptococcus infections and
against pneumonia and other diseases has already saved an
incalculable number of lives. Atabrin, vital substitute for
quinine, which is used by our fighting men in the tropics to
combat deadly malaria, is another coal-tar derivative. Improved
anesthetics also have been made from coal-tar chemicals.
A Ton of Coal
Every ton of coal coked in a by-product oven produces, on
an average, 0.7 ton of coke, 0.06 ton of screenings, 10,500 to
11,500 cubic feet of gas, 12 gallons of tar, 26 pounds of
sulphate of ammonia, 1.75 gallons of benzol, 0.55 gallons of
toluol, 0.24 gallons of xylol, and 0.5 pound of crude naphtha-
lene. These basic products can be broken down into the con-
stituents of explosives, plastics of many types, solvents, food
preservatives, insecticides, fertilizers, lacquers, "soapless soaps,"
and countless other things vital to the war effort now and of
great utility in the future.
Toluol is considered to be the most important product
recovered from coal. It is widely used during peacetime in
the manufacture of rubber cement, wood stains, paints, paint
and varnish remover, as a substitute for turpentine, and spe-
cial inks. Today most of the toluol is being converted into
TNT. Methanol, derived in part from coal, is a necessary raw
material for the manufacture of certain explosives, and aniline,
also obtainable from coal, is needed to make the tetryl used
as a "booster" in high-explosive shells.
From benzol comes phenol which is used with air and
Chemistry Magic 161
water to manufacture nylon, having a higher combined
strength and elasticity than any natural fiber. Great quantities
are used for parachutes and canopy cloth, shroud lines, and
belting for parachutes. Tough, durable paintbrush bristles,
and bristles for essential industrial and toilet brushes, now
come from coal, air, and water instead of from the back of a
Far Eastern hog.
A large portion of benzol will be used in the production
of styrene, which polymerizes with butadiene (from petro-
leum) to make synthetic rubber. Coal derivatives also are
combined with limestone and salt to produce neoprene, the
first general-purpose synthetic rubber made in this country.
Ammonia, recovered from the by-products during normal
times, is used largely in the production of ammonia sulphate
for use in ready-made fertilizers. Ammonia, as concentrated
ammonia liquor, is used to make refrigerating gas and in aqua
ammonia for cleaning. It is employed in the manufacture of a
large number of ammonium salts, such as ammonium chloride
and ammonium nitrate. The heavy use of ammonium nitrate
for explosives has sharply curtailed the production of this fer-
tilizer at present.
Another coal-tar derivative, familiar to us as moth balls, is
naphthalene. This can be converted into beta naphthol, the
base for many dyes that are used for the dyeing of cloth for
uniforms, the coloring of paints in camouflage, and the pro-
duction of synthetic rubber.
Oil, the Chemist's Proxy for Coal
All these substances, and many others, do not exist, declares
Lancelot Hogben in Science for the Citizen, 1 because coal tar
itself has unique or miraculous resources. "The reason why
1 Hogben, Lancelot, Science for the Citizen. New York, Alfred A. Knopf,
1938. London, Allen & Unwin, Ltd.
1 62 Miracles Ahead!
we can put coal tar to so many uses is that when we know
how the organic molecule is built up, we can generally make
it from the disintegration products of any organic material."
Petroleum, like coal, consists of stores of dead organic mate-
rial produced millions of years ago by the energy from the
sun. Therefore, by taking the hydrocarbons of which petro-
leum is composed, and which are the building blocks of all
organic matter, and rearranging them, the chemist can create
an amazing array of useful materials. At one time the oil
refinery produced chiefly lubricants, kerosene, gasoline,
naphtha waxes, and fuel oil. Today the refinery is a chemical
plant that hooks together giant chains of hydrocarbon mole-
cules to produce "tailor-made" high-octane gasoline for com-
bat planes, and also turns out products that closely resemble
common natural substances such as wood, leather, or rubber.
Toluol until very recent years was a by-product of coal.
Now it is a petroleum product. Butadiene and other bases for
synthetic rubber are being turned out in increasing quanti-
ties. The Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation led the way
in taking refinery gases, which once were wasted or reburned
as fuel, and synthesizing many chemicals such as acetylene,
which is used as the base for neoprene synthetic rubber, as
well as for welding metals; sulphuric acid, which has hun-
dreds of uses as an industrial chemical; ethylene dichloride for
vitamins, antiknock fluid, plastics, and insecticides; ethylene
glycol for dynamite and antifreeze aircraft-engine coolant;
acetone for rayon, photo film, and solvents; and formalde-
hyde, chloroform, ether, and many other chemicals used in
solvents, dyes, plastics, finishes, and lifesaving drugs.
Research in cellulose plastics by the Bell Telephone Labo-
ratories reveals many interesting properties of these curious
Chemistry Magic 163
materials. The molecules in plastics can be arranged in such an
orderly fashion that the material will be crystal-clear, or they
can be in disorder. It appears that when the molecules are in
the maximum of disorder the materials tend to be soft and
flexible. When the molecules are arranged in "military forma-
tion" the materials are hardest and strongest, but sometimes
brittle. For instance, there are the disorderly molecules of gum
rubber and the almost perfectly ordered molecules of sugar
and ice, which are brittle. A balance between these two ex-
tremes gives the chemist materials of desired strength and
The oldest plastic is cellulose nitrate, first made by treating
cotton with nitric acid. With camphor it made the inflam-
mable celluloid which was molded into combs, toothbrush
handles, wooden frames, and film. With alcohol it goes into
finishes that revolutionized the painting of automobiles around
twenty years ago.
Another one, cellulose acetate, is made by dosing cellulose
with acetic acid and acetic anhydride. Like cellulose nitrate,
it is thermoplastic will soften up each time it is reheated to
a certain temperature. These plastics are tough, easily curved,
and more transparent than glass.
The Hard Resilient Plastics
The best-known plastics are the phenolic resins, including
bakelite, and the urea formaldehydes, which are much used
in bonding plywood. The phenolic resins are made by
combining phenol, from coal, and formaldehyde. They are
thermosetting when hardened they stay hard forever more.
They will resist solvents and other chemicals, and are used in
gears that will outwear steel.
The urea resins, also thermosetting, are made by compound-
ing a nitrogen product, urea (principal organic constituent of
164 Miracles Ahead!
human urine), with formaldehyde. Until the German chem-
ist Wohler prepared urea without the aid "of man, dog or kid-
ney," it was believed that organic compounds could be made
only with the aid of a mysterious force present in the living
plant or animal organism; thus the distinction between car-
bon (organic) and mineral (inorganic) chemistry. After
Wohler synthesized urea from inorganic sources, the term
"organic chemistry" came to mean simply the chemistry of
the carbon compounds.
The acrylate resins are made from various derivatives of
acrylic acid, and are used not only in place of glass in air-
planes but as dental material (methyl methacrylate is said to
be used in 90 per cent of the dental plates made in this coun-
try). Since the acrylate resins, such as Lucite, have the odd
property of making light go around corners, they are used as
surgical and dental illuminating instruments. Their use for
a host of household articles is out till after the war.
The alkyd resins, which are made by putting glycerin
together with organic acids, go mostly into paint, lacquer, and
varnish and into printing inks. The vinyl resins, from coke
and limestone, are weather-resisting materials of high quality.
Polyvinyl butral was formerly used as the plastic interlayer
in safety glass for automobiles, and now forms the coating
for Army raincoats, hospital sheeting, drinking-water bags,
and other war products. It is replacing tons of vital rubber.
Plastics from the Ocean
By combining chlorine, obtained from ocean-water brines,
with carbon and hydrogen atoms from petroleum, the Dow
Chemical Company has produced an excellent plastic mate-
rial known to chemists as vinylidene chloride and to you as
Saran. It makes a thermoplastic pipe of great toughness, dura-
bility, and resistance to abrasion and corrosion. Saran will
Chemistry Magic 165
give good service to chemical processing plants; to oil, gas,
and water companies; and to innumerable general industries.
Of great importance is the fact that Saran pipe can be welded
in less than one minute. A workman merely places the pieces
to be welded on a hot plate heated to 350 to 400 degrees
Fahrenheit. When the ends get sticky he places the pieces
together and allows them to cool for ten seconds. After
twenty-four hours the joint strength is greater than that of
the pipe itself! Cheaper, better plumbing should be available
in the future because of this plastic pipe.
The high-polymer plastics like Saran vary in physical form
from clear, hard, transparent glasses like polystyrene to soft,
elastic, film-forming materials and rubberlike products that
can be vulcanized. Polybutene, produced by Standard Oil
chemists from by-product gases of oil cracking, is used in
place of crepe rubber in coatings and adhesives. Most of these
plastic materials lack the bounce and elasticity of natural rub-
ber or neoprene, but they are taking over many jobs in the
industrial and military field.
The Monsanto Chemical Company produced a plastic to
replace the rubber tires on industrial hand trucks and other
wheeled equipment. Scientists then made the mistake of try-
ing to test the plastic. They put it on steel testing equipment
to see how it compared with rubber. Before the plastic treads
showed any wear, the testing equipment gave out.
Replacing Light Metals
Tenite, a plastic made from cellulose acetate by the Ten-
nessee Eastman Corporation, can be extruded like toothpaste
from a tube, and then dries into a hard, wear-resisting mate-
rial. It is replacing light metals in furniture and wall trim.
Cellophane, also from cellulose, is used for containers which
replace metal cans.
1 66 Miracles Ahead!
Scores of plastics have set records for toughness and ver-
satility as "pinch hitters" for metal. Westinghouse has a lami-
nated plastic, Micarta, which is used for the bearings of
propeller shafts. A fifty-pound Micarta roll neck on a giant
rotating roll supports a million-pound load. One airplane
engine company saves one hundred thousand pounds of alu-
minum a month by substituting phenolic-plastic engine parts.
These parts can be molded in one operation, instead of the
five steps it took to make them from aluminum. A tough
ethyl-cellulose plastic is used in making dies, jigs, and form-
ing blocks for the fabrication of plane parts, thereby replacing
scarce metals and speeding up production. It should be inval-
uable in making low-cost fight planes. Three parts of the sixty-
millimeter trench-mortar fuse are made of thermosetting plas-
tic, which saves a pound of aluminum for each projectile.
Achieving the Impossible
"If you don't see what you want, ask for it," says the clerk
in the secondhand store.
The chemical industry has given this sales talk a newer and
better twist: "If you don't see what you want, ask for it. If
we don't have it, we'll make it for you."
Since December 7, 1941, our armed forces have been ask-
ing for a lot of things, and the chemical industry has deliv-
ered the goods ahead of schedule.
It has worked overtime increasing the production of high-
octane gasoline for planes; synthetic rubber for the wheels of
our mechanized forces; TNT for bombs; chemicals for pro-
tective coatings for military equipment; oils and fatty acids
for lubrication and coatings; coal-tar derivatives, such as sulfa
drugs, for medicinal purposes; dehydrated, compressed foods
Chemistry Magic 167
for soldiers' rations; longer- wearing, waterproof clothing
for our fighting men; and literally thousands of other
Melamine resins, among the newest plastic material, are
approved for buttons on military uniforms, and also are the
basis for a new paper treatment that gives tremendous strength
to paper so that it can be used for sandbags, tents, food pack-
aging, and even clothing.
Small wonder that plastics have in short order attained the
dignity of strategic or essential materials widely used in Army
and Navy ordnance and aircraft; in articles for the Quarter-
master, Chemical Warfare, Signal, Engineering, and Medical
Corps; in Maritime Commission and Office of Civilian Defense
articles, as well as in many industrial processes.
Winning Chemical Leadership from Germany
We can be thankful that our chemical industry of 1941 was
much better prepared for war than it was when the first
World War came along. When that conflict started in 1914
only five hundred and twenty-eight workers were employed
in the production of coal-tar chemicals, dyes, drugs, etc. We
were importing more than 90 per cent of our dyes from
abroad, mainly from Germany. Nor did we have a single
plant for extracting nitrogen from the air and transforming
it into the chemicals so vital in war (every shot from a sixteen-
inch gun requires more than one hundred pounds of this gas),
to agriculture, and to industry in general. We depended on
Chile for natural nitrates used in fertilizers and explosives.
In most scientific fields we looked to Europe for materials and
Our chemical industry struggled successfully to gain inde-
pendence from foreign products during the first World War,
and during the intervening years of peace it grew powerful.
1 68 Miracles Ahead!
American chemists took from Germany her leadership in
coal-tar dyes and other chemicals. They captured nitrogen
from the air and transformed it into compounds suitable for
military, agricultural, and industrial uses. We still import some
nitrates from Chile, but we no longer are dependent on for-
eign sources of supply for this critical material.
Breaking the Japanese Camphor Monopoly
For years we depended on natural gum from the Formosan
camphor tree, of which Japan had a monopoly, for vital cam-
phor used in medicines, photographic film, plastics, explosives,
and many other products. Then our chemists produced syn-
thetic camphor from Southern turpentine, broke the monop-
oly, and gave us a limitless supply of camphor at one-eighth
the price Japan had wanted for it a few years before.
Creating New Wealth in Agriculture
Scores of foods developed for military use dehydrated,
compressed vegetables, meats, and other products will un-
doubtedly prove popular after the war. Chemistry also is pre-
pared to help the farmer by using more of his products for
industrial purposes. Cellulose, from wood and cotton, and
furfural, from waste farm products like oat hulls, corncobs,
and rice hulls are being used in plastics. The Ford Motor
Company uses soybeans to make textile fibers for upholstery
and has developed an all-plastic car body from soybeans and
other farm products.
Our neighbor Brazil, with a five-million-bag coffee surplus,
is cooperating with a New York firm in the fabrication of
plastics from cafelite, a brown molding powder from coffee
beans. Cafelite is something like bakelite and lends itself to a
variety of uses. It is made wholly from coffee beans, and in
Chemistry Magic 169
the process coffee oil, caffein, and several chemical specialties
Rayon and nylon are the pioneers of a great number of
synthetic textiles which will compete strongly with natural
fibers in coming years. Your clothes will be made from coal,
air, and water, and from peanuts, soybeans, tree bark, milk,
and wood chips. And these chemically treated clothes will
be Greaseproof, waterproof, fireproof, verminproof, and even
stainproof. Farewell to moths and cleaning bills!
Rayon, which now is synthesized from cellulose in cotton
and wood pulp and may soon be made from corn or milk-
weed stalks, is the oldest of the artificial fibers. It looks and
feels more like silk than silk itself, but can be fabricated into
tire cord or parachute shroud lines of superior strength.
Rayon fibers now are used in heavy-duty tires, self -sealing
gasoline tanks, and many other war products. In addition, the
diversion of the remaining silk stocks and nylon to war pur-
poses forced rayon to supply the requirements of the hosiery
industry. Present yarns are not entirely suited for hosiery, but
the industry expects new developments to help it compete
with nylon and other fibers. The Celanese Corporation is
bringing out a new spun rayon that looks exactly like high-
quality worsted and will be used for men's suits. Between
them, rayon and nylon are expected to put the silkworm out
of business at least as far as United States business is con-
Other promising fibers are vinylidene chloride; Velon,
which may be perfected for men's suits; and Vinyon, a copol-
ymer of vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate. Vinyon's low heat
resistance has delayed its use in ordinary fabrics, but chemists
report that they are licking this problem. Palco, a bark from
ijo Miracles Ahead!
the redwood, is used as a wool blender in blankets, heavy-
duty coats, and felt hats. Combinations of rayon and wool and
of peanuts and wool have produced excellent textiles.
Women's coats are being made from Aralac, a "wool" that
never was near a sheep. Aralac comes from casein, the protein
in milk, and is made by the National Dairy Products Com-
pany (interesting name for a textile firm?). The proteins,
which contain amino-acid building blocks, are being juggled
around just as chemists juggle (and rearrange) the hydro-
carbon building blocks in coal and petroleum. Wool is a
protein. Hence, if the amino acids in casein are assembled as
they are in wool, the chemist gets a synthetic wool that is
warm and soft and costs about half as much as the natural
The use of melamine resins and other plastics may give us
paper shirts and other articles that will be attractive but so
cheap that we can throw them away when soiled.
Let us now spotlight some of the developments in chem-
istry, and see what they will mean to you in postwar years.
Light metals, plastic bonded plywood, plastics, and other
materials will revolutionize home construction and give us
better homes at lower cost. Probably the most impressive ad-
vances to be achieved directly or indirectly by chemical
research and engineering will be in the field of transportation.
Huge luxury air liners, and cargo planes; light, low-cost fam-
ily planes, and rotary-wing craft; and better automobiles
all will be made possible by the advances in metallurgy, high-
octane fuels, plastics, and other fields of research. The rail-
roads will compete with other forms of transportation by
using aluminum, magnesium, and light-alloy steels for pas-
senger and freight cars which will weigh far less, move at
Chemistry Magic 171
much higher speeds, and cost less to operate than present
Our military planes now are using "100 octane" gasoline,
and industrial chemists are working on fuels of "150 octane"
rating. The use of liquid hydrocarbons (derived from coal,
petroleum, and natural gas), which are highly efficient and
can be pumped long distances by pipe lines, may render obso-
lete the present-day industrial power plants.
In a careful survey of the chemical industry's past and
future prospects the investment house of Merrill Lynch,
Pierce, Fenner and Beane declares:
"If a true list of essential industries is ever compiled, the
chemical industry will inevitably be near the top of the list.
For industrial chemistry is not only as essential to peace as it
is presently in war it is vital to life itself. And it is literally
true today that industry as a whole cannot function without
the chemist. The chemical industry, then, is the base from
which all other industries stem to form the complex structure
that is our national economy and the American way of life.
So industrial chemistry is not just essential; it is indispensable."
METALS THAT BUILD NEW WORLDS
MOST OF us are incapable of realizing the extent to which new
metals will transform tomorrow's world. We are in the habit
of looking to new mechanical devices and discoveries for por-
tents of the future. It is true that in the past such inventions
have revolutionized everyday living. But in tomorrow's world
nearly everything we touch, see, and use will have been pro-
foundly altered by the new light, powerful metals developed
in recent months for war use. These metals will make possible
the manufacture of a thousand aids, comforts, and safety de-
vices we do not know today.
A glance at the war picture will reveal why some of them
A violent Nazi antiaircraft barrage tosses the Flying Fort-
ress about as it completes its bombing run over the target.
Suddenly a waist gunner is knocked several feet and slumps
to the floor. The bomber weathers the storm of bursting
shells; and a companion bends anxiously over the waist gun-
ner, who has regained consciousness and is trying to get up.
Examination shows that he merely had been stunned by a
piece of flak which dented, but did not pierce, a new steel
jacket he is wearing. This device is a sleeveless canvas jacket
with slits into which one hundred and twenty pounds of
tough steel plates are slipped. It can be removed instantly by
pulling a release cord.
North American P-52 Mustangs roar across France, blazing
away at Nazi ground defenses and freight trains. At least
Metals That Build New Worlds 173
75 per cent of the weight of these warplanes is aluminum,
light but strong metal of many uses. Two hundred pounds
of lighter magnesium silvery- white metal "mined" from the
ocean also went into the engine and other parts of these
A flight of Republic P-47 Thunderbolts thunders across a
field, leaps into the sky, and soon climbs out of sight. The
turbosuperchargers, which enable these planes to fight at great
altitudes, are made of special alloys mixtures of metals
that can stand engine-exhaust temperatures of 1,500 degrees
Fahrenheit, and cold of 67 degrees below zero.
Huge "battle wagons" prowl the seven seas guarding United
Nations life lines. One of these 45,000 ton battleships requires
42,000 tons of alloy and carbon steel for the hull and machin-
"This 42,000 tons," explains Admiral S. M. Robinson, "in-
cludes ordered steel weights, plus ingot weights for the heavy
forgings. To this amount must be added an equal weight of
ingots for ordnance. . . . Remember that the barrel of a 16
inch naval gun alone, excluding the breech mechanism and
turrets, consumes from 500 to 600 tons of steel."
Just a few examples of the thousands of war jobs that metals
are performing today, and a reminder of the big jobs they
will perform in the future. The lightweight metals aluminum
and magnesium new alloy steels, and combinations of little-
known metals will compete vigorously with one another and
with the new plastics. Together, all of these materials will
revolutionize living in the postwar world.
The Story of Aluminum
Aluminum is the most common metallic element in the
earth's crust. But it is never found free in nature. It always i$
found in combination with other substances, and scientists
174 Miracles Ahead!
spent many years trying to produce the metal at reasonable
cost. In 1854 Sainte-Claire Deville, a Frenchman, announced
that he had improved the process by which Friedrich Wohler
had obtained pure aluminum in 1827. Napoleon III aided
Deville's work, because he saw a chance of using this light
metal for helmets and armor. Deville cut the cost of alumi-
num from five hundred and forty-five dollars per pound to
seventeen dollars by 1859.
In 1886 twenty-two-year-old Charles Martin Hall, who
had been graduated from Oberlin College (Ohio) a few
months earlier, discovered a cheap process that would pro-
duce large amounts of the metal. (In France twenty-two-
year-old Paul L. T. Heroult also discovered this process.)
Hall had been intrigued by Deville's statement that every
claybank was a mine of aluminum, and by his professor's
remark that anyone who produced cheap aluminum would be
a benefactor to mankind and also make a fortune.
Instead of using clay in his process, Hall used pure alumi-
num oxide obtained from bauxite and cryolite, a mineral
found only in Greenland. (We are not necessarily dependent
on imports from Greenland, as cryolite can be prepared from
fluorine, sodium, and aluminum.) Cryolite's job was to dis-
solve the alumina (aluminum oxide), as sugar is dissolved in
water. Then the solution was put in an iron crucible or box
lined with carbon. An electric current was passed through the
solution, the oxygen burned off, and pure aluminum drained
from a hole in the bottom.
Hall's process soon slashed the price of aluminum to two
dollars a pound. Today it is around fifteen cents a pound.
The world production of aluminum jumped from sixteen tons
in 1886 to 270,000 in 1929. In another ten years United States
production alone was 400,000,000 pounds and was expected
to hit 2,100,000,000 pounds in 1943. Tremendous amounts of
electricity are needed to produce aluminum, but new hydro-
Metals That Build New Worlds 175
electric plants in the Tennessee Valley and on the Columbia
River are helping to solve this problem.
Most of the world's warplanes are made of an alloy con-
sisting of aluminum, copper, magnesium, and manganese, and
called duralumin. A new secret aluminum alloy has been de-
veloped for war use. It is said to add 10 to 25 per cent to the
strength of the metal.
R. L. Duffus, in the New York Times Magazine, sums
up past advances and future prospects of aluminum:
"Cheap and abundant aluminum is here, cheaper and far
more abundant aluminum just around the corner. One picks
up a handful of bauxite from a stockpile. It wouldn't look
well in the middle of the parlor rug. Apply the magic of mod-
ern chemistry and metallurgy to it and suddenly it shines;
and in the glitter one can see not only the flames of war but
the glow of cleaner, more beautiful homes, public buildings,
motor cars, railroad equipment in fact, a more splendid mate-
Much of the bauxite comes from Surinam (Dutch Guiana),
although smaller amounts are obtained in Arkansas. Alunite,
an ore found in Utah and other Western states, also is used in
place of bauxite, while TVA engineers believe that abundant
aluminum can be obtained from a clay called kaolin.
The Ocean as a Treasure Chest
The ocean is the world's greatest storehouse of minerals.
A cubic mile of ocean weighs about 4,500,000,000 tons and
contains about 3% per cent of dissolved salts, weighing
around 155,000,000 tons. Sodium chloride (ordinary table
salt) and other sodium salts make up about 117,000,000 tons
of this total; magnesium salts, 23,000,000 tons; calcium salts,
6,000,000 tons; and the remainder is made up of salts of other
176 Miracles Ahead!
"In land mines," explained John J. O'Neill in the New
York Herald Tribune, "the desired elements usually are locked
in rocky matrices of silica and other undesired substances.
It is usually necessary to grind the ore to a powder for proc-
esses in which the desired metals are separated.
"When the ocean is used as a source of minerals it is neces-
sary to get rid of a large quantity of water. If only one of
the ocean salts is desired the handling of the great quantity
of water usually is a costly task. When it was sought to get
bromine from the ocean for use in anti-knock gasoline the
water was pumped through a series of tanks and towers on a
ship and a gas bubbled through the water. The gas combined
with the bromine and carried it away to be precipitated and
returned to the extraction tower."
In 1934 the Dow Chemical Company began operating a
plant, on the coast of North Carolina, which used a simpler
process to get bromine from the ocean. Dow engineers esti-
mated that a chunk of ocean one mile square and eighty-nine
feet deep was pumped through the plant in twelve months.
John J. O'Neill points out that in some places nature has
performed some of the work of extracting the excess water:
"This takes place particularly in salt lakes. The Great Salt
Lake in Utah is such a body of water. The evaporation of
such lakes in the past has produced now-buried deposits of
all of the ocean salts. About 2,000 feet under Michigan is
buried a salt lake providing a vast supply of brine in which
magnesium and other salts are concentrated."
The Dow Chemical Company has plants which use brines
from this Michigan salt lake to produce bromine, magnesium,
and other products.
In 1940 the Dow Chemical Company constructed plants
on the coast of Texas to take magnesium and bromine from
the ocean. Magnesium salts are obtained from the water.
These are treated with hydrochloric acid to form magnesium
Metals That Build New Worlds 177
chloride. Then an electric current is used to break the com-
pound into magnesium and chlorine. The light magnesium
floats to the top and is skimmed off, and the chlorine is uti-
lized to make more hydrochloric acid. Eight hundred tons of
water are handled during the production of one ton of mag-
nesium. Dr. H. H. Harrington, metallurgist in General Elec-
tric Research Laboratories, estimated that the 23,000,000 tons
of magnesium salts in a cubic mile of ocean could yield
4,500,000 tons of magnesium enough to supply 90,000,000
pounds of the metal each year for one hundred years. Mag-
nesium also is obtained from several ores found in the West-
One Pound of Magnesium
C. L. Mantell, in Sparks from the Electrode, 1 writes:
"From a pound of magnesium we can make a bar of the
metal a half inch square and 64 inches long, while such a bar
from a pound of aluminum would be 42 inches long, and
from steel only 14 inches long. A beam of magnesium, light
enough in itself to be carried by one man, can yet support
an automobile! A steel piece of similar size probably could
not be lifted by four men. The advantage of magnesium in
the matter of weight alone, especially in aviation and build-
ing, makes its production worth the effort."
Magnesium is not quite as strong as aluminum. But as a
structural material it always is used as an alloy, usually with
aluminum. These alloys are called Dowmetal, and are much
stronger and harder than magnesium alone. Magnesium, which
burns with an intense white light, also is used in bomb casings,
incendiaries, tracer bullets, flares, and star shells.
Aside from their uses in airplanes, engineers expect mag-
1 Mantell, Charles Letnam, Sparks from the Electrode. New York, The
Century Company, 1933.
178 Miracles Ahead!
nesium alloys to be utilized in postwar automobile engines,
making them lighter and more efficient. These alloys also will
be useful in home construction, household appliances and
equipment, and scores of other applications.
Only 6,000,000 pounds of magnesium were produced in
the United States in 1939, while at the end of 1942 produc-
tion was at the rate of 260,000,000 pounds. It was stepped
up during 1943 to 627,500,000 pounds.
We need iron in our blood, and iron and steel are the
"lifeblood" of modern industry. With the exception of alu-
minum, iron is the most common metal in the earth's crust.
It is found combined with oxygen in such ores as hematite
(most important iron ore in the United States), magnetite,
and limonite. Iron is obtained from the oxide by heating it
with carbon and removing certain impurities. Steel is merely a
kind of iron which is hardened by burning out the carbon
and other impurities and then adding just the correct amount
of carbon. Harder steel can be made by heating and then cool-
ing it suddenly by "quenching" in water or oil. Softer steel
can be produced by heating it and allowing it to cool
Special kinds of "tailor-made" steel can be produced by
adding small amounts of other metals. These steel alloys make
the armor plate for ships and tanks, and the guns and other
equipment that give our armed forces their tremendous strik-
Pinkish-gray manganese makes a tough manganese steel
which is used in railroad switches, dippers of power shovels,
rock crushers, and other equipment that must stand hard
wear. Manganese also is vital in the production of all kinds
of steel. Small amounts of this metal are added to steel to
Metals That Build New Worlds 179
remove sulphur and oxygen. If the sulphur were not removed
it would cause the steel to become brittle. (Manganese like-
wise is used to harden aluminum.)
Steel as well as iron rusts when exposed to air. So 12 to 18
per cent of chromium is added to make a "stainless steel"
which resists corrosion. Chrome steel, containing smaller
amounts of chromium, is very hard and elastic and is valuable
for armor plate and for bearings.
Nickel steel is resistant to corrosion and tough enough for
armor plate, guns, and bridges.
Tungsten steel is used by machine tools to cut and shape
other metals. A tungsten-steel tool does not lose its cutting
edge even when heated red-hot by long use at high speeds.
Tungsten sees to it that our fighting men get enough weapons
on time. The tungsten filament in Mazda lamps provides much
of the world with light.
Molybdenum steel matches tungsten steel in its resistance
to heat; hence it can be used for cutting tools, and for axles
and other equipment where toughness is demanded.
Vanadium steel has high tensile strength and elasticity,
which make it valuable in the production of axles, crank-
shafts, and gears.
Precious Common Metals
When war came, we were faced with the fact that the
nation's industry depended largely upon imports for five of
the six metals listed above. Only molybdenum, 85 per cent of
which is produced in the United States, was abundant. But it
also got short because great amounts were used to replace
nickel, chromium, and tungsten in high-grade steels.
Seeking to solve our shortage problems, metallurgists have
yanked a lot of rabbits out of hats. Metallurgical magic is pro-
ducing N.E., or national emergency, steels, which pare down
180 Miracles Ahead!
the amounts of nickel, chromium, vanadium, and other scarce
metals in alloy steels. New and improved heat treating and
working processes have made the N.E. steels possible, and
they are proving to be equal or superior to the high-grade
alloy steels for many purposes.
Copper, the first metal man learned to use, ranks next to
iron as our most useful metal. It is utilized in all types of elec-
trical equipment. Look around the room you are in and you
will probably see several objects containing copper. Large
amounts of copper are used in alloys such as brass (copper,
zinc), bronze (copper, zinc, tin), and gun metal (copper and
tin), and with nickel and iron to make Monel metal.
Huge supplies of copper are produced in Montana, Utah,
and Arizona. But the production of tanks, guns, ships, and
planes for global war has caused a critical shortage of this
metal. Tin is another valuable metal which is on the critical
list of metals that must be conserved. In 1941 we imported
60 per cent of the world's supply of tin, which is so impor-
tant in many alloys and as a coating to protect other metals
from corrosion. And 90 per cent of our imports came from
the Far East.
The emergency has shifted silver from the class of rare and
precious metals to one of great utility in war industry. Silver
is similar to copper in strength, but is a 10 per cent better
conductor of electricity and a much better conductor of
heat. Huge amounts of silver are used each week to make
bearings that will stand high loads and speeds in war equip-
ment. Some engineers say air speeds would be reduced as
much as seventy-five miles per hour if silver-plated bearings
were not available.
Gold has great resistance to chemicals and could be em-
ployed for many industrial purposes. Its price, of around four
hundred and fifty dollars a pound, restricts its use in large
quantities. Some buildings, however, use pure gold on their
Metals That Build New Worlds 181
roofs. Its weather-resistant qualities make it economical in
the long run.
Lead, not a rare or precious metal, is proving worth its
weight in gold in alloys replacing copper for roofing and
flashings. Plentiful silicon (used in silicon steel for springs and
electromagnets) replaces scarce tin in bronze.
Several other metals, hardly mentioned outside of text-
books, have been put to work by metallurgists. Tantalum was
used in incandescent lamps until replaced by tungsten. Now it
is used to make electronic tubes for radios and Radar equip-
ment. Indium, a silverlike metal softer than lead, is finding
wide uses as a wartime substitute for tin. Small quantities of
selenium and tellurium are added to steel, copper, and copper-
rich alloys to make them more easily sawed and cut. Selenium
and tellurium also make lead more resistant to corrosion as
well as stronger and tougher.
Lithium, the lightest of the metallic elements, is used in
silver solder for brazing tungsten-copper electrical contacts.
The adding of small amounts of lithium improves iron and
copper used for casting. Osmium, the heaviest metal known,
is employed in secret war-industry processes. It has been used
in peacetime to produce hard alloys for tipping gold pens.
Molybdenum, already mentioned, has taken over so many
jobs in the past two years that people have forgotten that it,
too, was one of the metals so long "buried in textbooks."
Beryllium the Magic Metal
Beryllium, a third lighter than aluminum and harder than
steel, deserves special mention again (we have already touched
upon it in the chapter on automobiles). It was identified in
1 82 Miracles Ahead!
1797, but it remained a "textbook metal" for many years.
Finally the German firm of Siemens Halske began examining
this metal; and in the United States, Andrew J. Gahagan and
J. Kent Smith went to work on it. After two years' work
they discovered that copper, a soft metal, became harder than
steel if 2 per cent of beryllium was added and a heat treat-
Other qualities besides toughness are making beryllium-
copper useful in industry. Because they won't strike sparks,
beryllium-copper hammers, chisels, wrenches, bars, are used
around explosives and in oil refineries and grain elevators.
The alloy's resistance to rust makes it valuable for machines
that must function perfectly in damp climates.
Another alloy, beryllium-nickel, is superior to beryllium-
copper. The Germans have the jump on us in making this
product, but our metallurgists are certain to catch up. Great
hope is held for experiments seeking to combine beryllium
with the light metals aluminum and magnesium to produce
the best of all structural materials.
"Powder metallurgy" has been outstanding as a saver of
materials and time in the production of metal parts for war
equipment. In this process two or more powdered metals are
put in a mold and then pressed into a "briquette." The "bri-
quette" is firm but can be easily broken until it is put in a
"sintering" furnace and baked. Although the temperature in
the furnace is below the melting point of the metals, the pow-
der particles are in some mysterious way fastened tightly
American-made tanks, guns, planes, ships, radios, trucks,
and locomotives are using parts of many shapes and sizes, and
ranging in weight from less than one ounce to sixty-five
Metals That Build New Worlds 183
pounds, which all were pressed from powdered metals. The
parts can be produced so that they are within a few thou-
sandths of an inch of the correct dimensions. Very little cut-
ting, grinding, or chipping is required to finish the parts.
This means a great saving in scarce metals, skilled man power,
Self-lubricating bearings are turned out by powder metal-
lurgy. The bearings are pressed of materials that become
spongelike when baked in the sintering oven. They soak up
oil and then gradually release it when in use. When a machine
stops running, the bearings absorb the oil. Self-oiling bearings
can be installed on tanks, and the crews never have to worry
about lubricating them.
"Twenty-eight different metals are now being produced in
powdered form and used in various combinations to produce
tens of thousands of different products, but experts say that
this is only a beginning," wrote Robert W. Marks and Har-
land Manchester in Forbes magazine. "Already it gives prom-
ise of turning out everything from watch parts to locomotive
wheels with new speed and economy."
Dr. C. K. Leith, head of the metals and minerals branch of
the Office of Production Research and Development of the
WPB, has briefly sketched the work of officials in charge of
getting new supplies of metals for war. "No nation," he said,
"has enough of all minerals. We are developing low grade
supplies at home which have never been used before. We are
devising new processes for the concentration and improve-
ment of these low grade materials and for their conversion
into usable form."
In the past two years the United States Bureau of Mines
has been conducting a hunt for war metals that has rivaled the
gold rush of '49. Low-grade ores of zinc, lead, nickel, tung-
sten, chromium, molybdenum, manganese, and other strategic
metals have been uncovered by engineers. Then chemists
184 Miracles Ahead!
stepped into the picture and provided a method of obtaining
the metals from the low-grade deposits. It is called "froth
flotation." A mixture of water and pulverized ore is prepared,
and chemicals are added which have an affinity for the metals
concerned. Operating like deep-sea divers, the chemicals go
down and lift the ores out of the worthless residue with
which they are associated in the earth.
Reporting in 1943 to the American Iron and Steel Institute,
Major General Levin H. Campbell, Jr., chief of Army Ord-
nance, declared that metallurgical progress by the United
States in two years has exceeded German accomplishments of
the past decade and advanced beyond Japanese developments
of the last thirty years. The application of these great metal-
lurgical gains, he said, is reflected in the "superquality" Amer-
ican armament furnished the "world's best flighting man, the
There is reason to believe that these metallurgical gains will
help make a better world for the American fighting man
when he comes home.
WOOD, PAPER, AND GLASS
WHEN MOST OF OUR SUPPLY of metals marched off to war,
wood, paper, and glass quickly took over their jobs on the
Wood saves seventy-nine pounds of steel every time an
icebox is made. A box now uses six instead of eighty-five
pounds of steel, and the remainder of it is wood. Baby-car-
riage bodies, handles, wheels, and springs are made of wood.
The Office of War Information explains that some kinds of
wood, expected to be an important substitution and already
used in many items, are now fast becoming critical because
of a shortage of man power in the lumber industries. Special
kinds of wood may also get scarce for other reasons. These
"other reasons" give us an exciting story worth saving till
Discussing paper's many uses as a substitute, the OWI
"It is possible that the case of the alarm clock which wakes
the war worker, the hanger from which he takes his clothes,
the base of the buttons with which he fastens those clothes,
his lunch box, the wastebasket into which he throws his sand-
wich wrappings and the case of the flashlight he uses in his
work may all be made of paper."
The war worker may buy aspirin or tooth powder pack-
aged in paper. The biscuits for his evening meal are made
from baking powder and shortening which came in paper
1 86 Miracles Ahead!
containers. After his meal he may ease himself into a porch
chair which resembles rattan, but if it is a new one it may be
of highly processed paper. His wife may be putting the gar-
bage into a paper garbage pail and brushing crumbs into a
paper dustpan. Later they may retire under the light but
warm protection of a blanket made of quilted layers of paper.
The OWI adds that this blanket, which was originated for
use in case of air-raid casualties, has been adopted by some
thrifty households for summer use. Its low cost means it can
be discarded at the end of the season with no thought of
packing in moth balls.
There are, however, more than fifteen thousand different
kinds of paper and paper products in use today, and paper
magicians are making it perform new feats of strength every
Alarm clocks, flashlight cases, and many other products
replacing metal on the home front are made from waste paper
that is ground up and molded by great heat and pressure.
Tough fiber containers, which take the place of tin cans for
packing many products, are made of paperboard. Then there
is the very unpaperlike "plasticized paper" now used by air-
A new method which turns coarse paper into a strikingly
waterproof material was announced in mid- 1943 by Dr. Wil-
liam D. Coolidge, research director of the General Electric
Laboratories. The materials to be waterproofed paper, as
well as cloth and ceramic insulations for radio equipment
are put in a cabinet and exposed to chemical vapors. The
treatment leaves no mark upon the materials, but it does cover
them with a thin film which successfully repels water and
can stand temperatures of as high as 550 degrees for a short
Another process for "water-conditioned" (aqualized) pa-
Wood, Paper, and Glass Transformed 187
per does not depend upon a protective coating. The paper is
treated with a secret chemical compound which binds the
fibers together so that water cannot get between them and
float them apart. The fibers in aqualized paper are "welded"
together so firmly that a towel of this material can be soaked
with water and rubbed vigorously and still remain whole.
Even after being in water many minutes the aqualized paper
will support twenty-six pounds. At the same time the paper
absorbs water quickly; it does not shed it like a duck's back.
Potato sacks, linings for vegetable crates, meat wrappings,
and similar materials for industry are made of special types of
aqualized paper. Draperies for the home, and sheets and pil-
lowcases for hospitals, are being produced. This versatile
paper can be waterproofed to serve for clothing, tents, and
sandbags and, unlike other waterproofed papers, it will not
weaken if the protective coating is cracked or broken.
A new "plasticized paper" is made by treating paper with
gluelike resin and subjecting it to pressure. This produces an
amber sheet of plastic paper half as heavy as aluminum and
almost as tough as steel of similar thickness. British and
American aircraft companies are using this material on the
wings of airplanes. Paper containers now can hold oil, grease,
and other liquids, and a soaking in the ocean or a fall on con-
crete makes no impression on them.
The list of the new uses to which paper is being put gets
longer every day. Obviously, a material that is light as well as
strong will find many new jobs to do in the postwar world.
Dr. Harvey N. Davis, president of Stevens Institute of Tech-
nology, envisions all-paper houses and even bicycles con-
structed entirely of paper. We may shy away from using
paper as a structural material, but this paper won't look like
paper, won't act like paper, and will soon make us forget that
it ever was paper.
1 88 Miracles Ahead!
Nazi Germany's Reliance on Wood
This nation has, until recently, lagged behind the Nazis in
getting full value from wood. They call it "UniversalrohstofF '
the universal material and have shown that it is a source
of chemical raw materials which may outstrip coal, oil, and
mineral resources for many uses in the future. Wood can be
used to produce food, clothing, alcohol, plastics, rubber, and
numerous other products.
How Hitler used wood in his plans for the conquest of the
world is brilliantly told in Dr. Egon Glesinger's Nazism in
the Woodpile* He reveals that when Hitler, in 1928, un-
earthed the fact that it was lack of essential raw materials
which had been the fundamental reason for Germany's defeat
in 1918 he became morose and sullen. Hitler realized that his
dream of world conquest would get nowhere so long as Brit-
ain and America kept exclusive control of the raw materials
needed by Germany.
"It was then," writes Dr. Glesinger, "that Hermann Goer-
ing came forward with a new idea: 'Obviously the easiest
way to break the Anglo-American grip is to discover and de-
velop another basic raw material and to secure world-wide
control in that field. After long deliberation my advisers and
I have reached the conclusion that 'wood could become the
raw material for world domination.' "
An unknown student of forestry, Johann Albrecht von
Monroy, was then introduced to Hitler and proceeded to
argue that the forests could be made to yield all the essentials
which Germany needed. Later Goering pointed out the two
reasons why wood should be chosen to become the "raw
material for Hitler's Thousand- Year Reich":
i. Wood is one of the five leading commodities in world
1 Glesinger, Egon, Nazism in the Woodpile. Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill
Woody Paper, and Glass Transformed 189
trade, and ranks second only to milk in production value as a
raw material and foodstuff.
2. One-third of Germany's soil is forested, as is the soil of
Germany's neighbors, especially Russia, while England must
import her wood.
The Monroy-Goering proposals were carried out, and Dr.
Glesinger writes that "it is Hitler's belief in wood which gives
him the confidence that he and his system will survive the
war; that no Allied blockade can wear down the Reich."
Professor Bergius, leading Nazi scientist, who won the
Nobel Prize for discovering the hydrogenation of coal (to
produce gasoline), made this important comment on the value
of wood as a raw material and foodstuff, according to Dr.
"How many people know that an acre of good forest land
will produce more sugar than an acre of sugar beets? Who
in America is aware of the fact that an acre of their Georgia
land will yield five times as much cellulose if planted with
yellow pine as it will if planted with cotton?
"Prepared with true German thoroughness, the wood
utilization plans are founded," wrote Dr. Glesinger, "on a
completely new classification of the uses of wood as a raw
material. The five main categories are:
"a. Solid and liquid fuels [wood gas for civilian vehicles,
and alcohol for the production of gasoline and synthetic
rubber for war equipment].
"b. Food and fodder [sugar, proteins, and cattle feed].
"c. Cellulose and textile fibers [artificial wool and rayon],
"d. Structural material in various fields of technical appli-
cation [transportable wooden huts for troops, wallboard and
fiberboard, and 'wooden iron' a type of plastic-bonded
plywood for airplane parts].
"e. Wood by-products as basic materials for chemical in-
dustries." [Among them is lignin, a gluelike substance that
190 Miracles Ahead!
binds cellulose fibers together and is expected to become more
important than coal tar as a chemical raw material.]
American Advances in Wood Chemistry
American wood chemists started late in this race to utilize
wood as a basic raw material and foodstuff. But already they
have topped the Nazis in certain fields. A process developed
by Dr. Donald F. Othmer and his associates at Brooklyn
(New York) Polytechnic Institute can produce raw sugar
from sawdust in minutes, while the Nazi process takes several
hours. Industrial alcohol, protein yeast, glycerin, and other
valuable products can be produced from the raw sugar. The
next step will be the production of synthetic fibers, lubricat-
ing oil, plastics, vanillin for synthetic vanilla flavoring, etc.
Our plastic-bonded plywood and other structural materials
from wood are as good, if not better, than the Nazis' "wooden
iron." These materials are expected to compete strongly with
the light metals and stainless steel in the construction of auto-
mobiles, airplanes, and prefabricated homes in the postwar
Warm Clothes from the Bark of Trees
Chemists now are busy trying to get full value from the
bark of trees. Roofing felts and boards can be made of it, and
the United States Department of Agriculture's Regional Re-
search Laboratories have found what they believe is an excel-
lent source of tanning material in the bark of the Western
hemlock tree. This work is important because we have im-
ported about half of the material needed in tanning leather
produced in this country, and supplies have been cut sharply
by the war. The bark of the giant redwood also has been
used to make a fabric for women's hats and suits, mattresses,
Wood, Paper, and Glass Transformed 191
and heavy coats. The bark is shredded and mixed with re-
claimed or pure wool.
The "Teco" ring, whose name comes from the Timber
Engineering Company, is favored to bring a revival of timber
as a structural material. A bolt alone will not serve to hold
two heavy timbers together. This is where the Teco ring
comes in. This metal ring is sunk into both pieces of timber
and a bolt then is put through the center. The ring distributes
the stresses in the connection over a wider area, and all the
bolt has to do is hold the timbers together. Companies using
the Teco ring have set several records on construction jobs
for the Army and Navy.
The use of the Teco ring greatly strengthens wood joints
and permits wood to be utilized in building huge warehouses,
bridges, and airplane hangars that otherwise would require
steel. Teco is expected to help wood recapture some of the
construction market it has lost to steel.
Neiv Treatments for Neiu Tensile Strengths
Plywood, narrow strips of veneer glued together with syn-
thetic resins which are waterproof and fungusproof, and heat-
and cold-resistant, will play an important part in postwar
homes. These "wood-and-glue sandwiches" are stronger than
solid steel per unit of weight. The Gunnison Housing Cor-
poration uses a plywood and plastic panel that will take about
any kind of punishment that nature or man can deal out.
Flood waters, blows from metal objects, and boiling water
make no impression on these panels.
Plastic-bonded plywood and impregnated and compreg-
nated woods are water-, fire-, oil-, and weather-resistant. They
are stronger pound for pound than aluminum or steel. Wood
and wood plastics are used for United States gliders, training
planes, and cargo transports. Britain's famed Mosquito bomber
192 Miracles Ahead!
is largely of wood. (Here are the other reasons "why certain
woods may get scarce.")
Germany's continued progress in wood chemistry was
made possible by conservation and reforestation programs
which gave her renewable sources of supply, and our forest-
products industries also are working to insure a steady supply
of wood in the United States.
"By scientific cutting," wrote Robert M. Hallett in the
Christian Science Monitor, "it is possible to increase the an-
nual new growth to a point where the yearly increment ap-
proximately balances the normal amount of timber used.
Industry spokesmen stress that timber is a crop like corn or
wheat and can be harvested and renewed. Actually trees
need to be cut to insure a future abundant supply of this
natural resource, because trees grow old and rot if they are
not harvested to make way for a new crop. Wood researchers
hold that continuation of their work promises increasing divi-
dends in productive land use, waste utilization and employ-
"The world has not grown out of the 'wood age'; it is only
now entering it," concludes Hallett.
The third member of this wonder-working trio is glass.
Dr. W. C. Taylor, chief of glass technology of the Corning
Glass Works, Corning, New York, states in the American
Glass Review that "the world would be left in chaos if glass
were removed transportation and communication would be
stopped, hospitals and laboratories would be at a loss, and
there would be a real blackout."
Woody Paper, and Glass Transformed 193
Dr. Taylor reminded us that "the seeds of glass technology
were sown 100 years ago, but were not developed until the
turn of the century. In its first use glass was an ornament,"
he added. "Later it took on more utilitarian characteristics
and was made into window panes and bottles and applied to
We can see through a clear pane of glass, but we cannot
see it clearly enough to describe it accurately. We cannot see
its molecular structure even with the best microscope or X
ray. But we have, according to Dr. Taylor, been able to lay
the foundation of modern glass by working out the relation
of the physical properties of glass to its chemical composition.
Eighty of the ninety-two elements, he added, can be used in
the manufacture of glass, making possible a tremendous num-
ber of combinations. Glass research to date, he said, only has
scratched the surface of these.
New Techniques in Glassmaking
In making glass the basic ingredients silica (or sand),
limestone, and soda ash are carefully weighed out. Two
other substances generally are included in the mixture. They
are sodium sulphate, which refines the glass, and cullet (scrap
glass left over from a previous batch, which aids the melting) .
The ingredients are put in huge clay pots and "baked" in
a high-temperature furnace. Then the molten glass is taken to
rollers, which flatten it out. When the glass is the proper
thickness it is moved along rollers through a tunnel the
annealing room where it is slowly cooled. The rough glass
then comes out and is ready for grinding and polishing opera-
tions, washing and drying, and final inspection before it is
Just as in the making of special alloy steels, glass manufac-
turers can produce many types of glass by varying the num-
194 Miracles Ahead!
her and quantity of materials that go into each mixture, or
batch. Different chemicals and minerals are added to give the
glass certain properties. And these "alloy glasses" are as supe-
rior to ordinary glass as alloy steels are to ordinary cast iron.
Since Corning brought out its Pyrex glass in 1915, tre-
mendous strides have been made in the manufacture of flame-
proof glass. Ordinary glass has a high "coefficient of expan-
sion" that is, it varies sharply with changes in temperature
and it is a poor conductor of heat. Thus a thick piece of
ordinary glass will crack when heated, because the outside
expands more than the inside. The low "coefficient of expan-
sion" of Pyrex prevents it from cracking when exposed to a
Coming's latest Pyrex-type glass is said to be "so new that
industry hasn't yet caught up with it." The discovery of this
glass called Vycor has been rated one of the outstanding
scientific achievements of the century. Vycor glass is 96 per
cent silica thereby approaching the characteristics of quartz,
which is pure silicon dioxide with a very low coefficient of
expansion and with high resistance to chemicals. Vycor is
made by giving the glass a chemical treatment which removes
one-third of the mass. Little but silica remains and it is in a
porous state. This is reheated and the glass "shrinks" until all
the minute holes are closed and a transparent, nonporous glass
is produced. According to Dr. W. W. Shaver, head of the
production-development department of Corning, this 96 per
cent silica glass has the property of used sand. To answer any
questions about Vycor's toughness, Dr. Shaver heated a cup
of this glass red-hot and then plunged it against a cake of ice.
The glass was not damaged.
Another glass which is similar to Vycor has been made by
the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company and other glass manufac-
turers. A quick-cooling process balances the forces of expan-
sion and contraction in the glass, making it more than four
y Paper, and Glass Transformed 195
times as strong as ordinary plate glass. A pane of this glass,
resting on a cake of ice, will withstand a stream of molten
lead. A two-pound ball can drop six feet on this glass and not
even scratch it. This glass, and Vycor, will have many post-
war uses for windows in oven doors, tops of frozen-food cabi-
nets, strong tabletops, locomotive headlights, and revolving
doors. And it is quite possible that your postwar home will
have entire walls of this transparent insulating glass that keeps
heat in during winter and excludes it in summer.
There are several types of glass that you won't be able to
recognize as such. First we have "Foamglas," which was de-
veloped by Corning and Pittsburgh Plate Glass. This mate-
rial, which insists on being called glass, can be sawed and
drilled and will float like cork. The glass is made by adding
pure carbon to the batch. When it is heated the carbon com-
bines to form a gas, which puffs up the molten glass into a
mass of bubbles. This foamy glass is annealed to prevent later
cracking, and then is cut into slabs. A cubic foot of Foamglas
has more than five million bubbles, or air cells, and weighs
only ten to eleven pounds, while ordinary glass weighs one
hundred and fifty to one hundred and seventy-five pounds
per cubic foot.
The air cells in Foamglas make it almost as buoyant as cork
or balsa wood and it is well suited for lifesavers, life rafts, and
pontoon-bridge floats. At the same time Foamglas is strong
enough to build walls or ceilings without special support. It
won't rot or burn and is verminproof. Any termite foolish
enough to tackle Foamglas will get a broken jaw for its
Foamglas is good news for the food and storage industries.
Tt will insulate cold-storage plants, ice-cream factories and
dairies, and also can be used in ovens and furnaces.
Next in line comes Fiberglas, which is used for insulation
and to make attractive, flameproof draperies. In addition,
196 Miracles Ahead!
Owens-Corning-Fiberglas has developed a glass thread for
surgical sutures. This suture is stronger than silk and avoids
the danger of infections sometimes caused by catgut and by
silk. Then, too, there is a fibrous glass tape used to strain for-
eign matter from blood plasma.
Optical glass has given us "eyes" to see stars billions of
miles away, and the minute germs and other organisms all
about us. The full story of the manufacture of optical glass
for military purposes cannot be told now. Bausch & Lomb
and the other optical manufacturers have blasted the myth of
German superiority in precision optical instruments. The
efficiency of American range finders, detection devices, and
aerial cameras has been greatly increased. Furthermore, in-
struments that once were produced by hand now are turned
out by mass-production methods to tolerances as fine as a
ten-thousandth of an inch.
Many newcomers have been producing optical instruments
for the Army and Navy. Among them aic Westinghouse,
Mergenthaler Linotype, Nash-Kelvinator, and Minneapolis-
"One of the examples in American development cited by
Minneapolis engineers," said the New York World-Telegram,
"is the control of humidity. One bottleneck in the production
of fine optical ware was the effect of humidity on glass,
which on inclement days sometimes halted production com-
pletely. . . .
"An engineering study was made of water and glass, and
it was discovered that glass is hydroscopic, meaning it ab-
sorbed moisture and exuded it, depending on the humidity.
When humidity fell the water oozed out and deposited par-
ticles of soluble salts which made the glass sticky. Rising
humidity kept the water in the glass. After that the solution
was simple. The company controlled the humidity to permit
Wood, Paper, and Glass Transformed 197
In the future, people can live in glass houses and not worry
about the result of throwing stones. John D. Biggers, presi-
dent of the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company, declares
that "houses with entire walls of transparent, insulating plate
glass that keeps heat in during winter and excludes it in sum-
mer will take their place in the world of tomorrow."
Blankets of fiber glass have been used to insulate Army bar-
racks and Navy ships. Boards composed of compressed glass
fibers, and faced on one side with a glass-fiber cloth that can
be painted, are used on Navy fighting ships for both heat
insulation and interior finish. The board has replaced millions
of pounds of aluminum formerly required and in a period of
seven months saved enough aluminum to build more than
two hundred four-motored bombers.
List the glass items that can replace metal ones in kitchens
and you have named almost everything in the kitchen. Flame-
proof glass saucepans, skillets, and double boilers replace
missing aluminum and scarce iron and enamel kitchenware.
More and more foods are packed in glass containers rather
than tin cans, saving three hundred thousand tons of steel and
tin for war equipment. Glass also makes knife sharpeners,
stoppers, traps for kitchen sinks, tabletops, bathroom acces-
sories, and washboards.
Consider this incomplete list of the types of glass now per-
forming so brilliantly on the home and war fronts:
Glass so hard it will stop a fifty-caliber bullet; glass that
can be sawed, drilled, and worked with carpenter's tools; glass
so light that it floats in water; glass wool so fine that a marble-
sized ball of glass will spin twenty miles of thread; explosion-
proof glass globes for use in war plants; glass that can be
heated red-hot and plunged into cold water without damage;
glass tubing that replaces copper, lead, and steel in plumbing;
glass that can be bent and tempered to almost any shape; glass
springs that don't get "tired" and are equal to steel ones;
198 Miracles Ahead!
automobile batteries of glass; secret optical glass which,
among other things, enables military observers to look directly
at the sun when spotting enemy bombers.
Glass will join wood and paper in performing hundreds of
jobs for us in the postwar years. The "Three Musketeers"
are performing feats of strength and endurance today, and
will go on to new triumphs tomorrow.
FORTUNES IN AGRICULTURE
PROBLEMS AS WELL AS CROPS always have been harvested by
American farmers. For years they sought to expand produc-
tion to feed more people. In 1800 one farmer could supply
food for less than six persons. A little over one hundred years
later one farmer could feed eighteen persons. Then in the
1930*8 the problem of surpluses plagued farmers, and produc-
tion was curtailed in order to raise prices.
Today farmers and the government face the tough problem
of increasing the production of many foods needed by our
fighting men, civilian workers, and allies. In 1942 farm out-
put hit an all-time high. What will happen to this tremendous
productive capacity after the war? Will the problem of sur-
pluses again plague the farmer?
Since 1935 the National Farm Chemurgic Council has
spread the word that the "farm problem" can be solved in
part by finding nonfood uses for crops through chemurgy
"chemistry at work for the farmer." In 1939 the United
States Department of Agriculture established the first of four
Regional Research Laboratories at Peoria, Illinois. Other
laboratories are at New Orleans, Philadelphia, and near San
"Future historians," wrote David Dietz, Scripps-Howard
science editor, "may look back to the establishment of these
laboratories as the most important event of 1939. They will
seek to solve the farm problem in the only way that scientists
200 Miracles Ahead!
believe it can be solved by finding new markets for farm
products and new uses for them in industry." 1
"The very ancient art of agriculture," added Wheeler
McMillen, president of the National Farm Chemurgic Coun-
cil, "is today in possession of new tools of such surpassing
importance as we have barely begun to suspect. Organic
chemistry, one of these tools, applies terrific temperatures and
tremendous pressures and a pot of beans becomes an auto-
mobile part instead of a bowl of soup."
Dr. George Washington Carver, famed Negro scientist,
who died in January, 1943, has been called the "first and
greatest chemurgist." Born of slave parents, he worked his
way through Iowa State College in 1896 and in that same
year was offered a position by Booker T. Washington,
founder and president of Tuskegee Institute, Macon County,
Alabama. He remained at Tuskegee all his life, demonstrating
how the South's "unproductive" soil could be made to pro-
duce rich crops and finding new industrial uses for farm prod-
ucts long before the word "chemurgy" was coined.
Like most of the South, Macon County then grew cotton
and little else. Dr. Carver knew this open-row crop exposed
the land to deadly water erosion and destroyed the fertile
Rackham Holt, author of an excellent biography of Dr.
Carver, told in the Christian Science Monitor, June 7, 1941,
how he helped break the strangle hold that cotton had on the
"If Southern farmers were to reduce their cotton acreage
they must raise other crops, and then a market for these must
be found. Sweet potatoes could be cultivated easily, but they
were highly perishable and yielded immense quantities of small
cull potatoes which could not be used as food. George Carver
abhorred waste, and from his laboratory by-products rushed
1 Chapter XIV shows how a liberal diet for all American families also will
do much to solve our "farm problem."
Fortunes in Agriculture 201
into the vacuum. In the course of time he produced 1 1 8, from
shoe polish to rubber.
"Peanuts had the great advantage possessed by all pod-
bearing plants of abstracting fertilizing nitrogen from the air,
thus enriching the soil instead of depleting it. From this now
famous legume (now a $20o,ooo,ooo-a-year industry, thanks
to Dr. Carver) he produced a list, always out of date before
it could be printed, though it numbers some 300 items from
soup to nuts gastronomically, and including soap, metal pol-
ish, plastic paper, axle grease."
Dr. Carver could have been a wealthy man, but he refused
to accept money for his hundreds of inventions.
Rackham Holt wrote of how a representative of a great
paint company came to see a color Dr. Carver had made from
Macon County clay:
" T)r. Carver,' said the expert, 'according to our observa-
tions, this color is 70 times bluer than blue. We would like to
put it on the market.'
" 'No, no, no!' was the alarmed response. 'I don't want to
"This is the rule to which he firmly adhered. From all over
America, from China, India, Japan, Russia, came emissaries or
letters asking for help in problems. Often checks were in-
cluded. Back would go the check, and the solution with it,
whether it was how to dye cement or turn peanuts into lino-
leum or into milk for babies in the Belgian Congo. In all his
efforts he constantly asked himself, 'How can this be adapted
to the requirements of humble people?' '
Dr. Carver's pioneering work on peanuts and sweet pota-
toes has been followed up by other chemurgists. Progress has
been made on a textile fiber from peanuts. A heat-insulating
board, nearly equal to cork and much cheaper, has been made
from peanut shells. Sweet potatoes are used for the manufac-
ture of industrial alcohol, and for starch to make adhesives for
stamps and envelopes.
2O2 Miracles Ahead!
The bulk of our heavy imports of tapioca for adhesives,
puddings, and soups came from the Netherlands Indies until
the Japanese took over. Now sweet potatoes, as well as white
potatoes and waxy corn, are furnishing vital supplies of starch.
Waxy corn, which originated in China, was developed in the
United States by the Department of Agriculture in the past
two years. It is an excellent substitute for tapioca.
New Uses for Skimmed Milk
Great strides have been made recently in using billions of
pounds of skim milk the residue left after butterfat has been
extracted for butter, table cream, or other purposes. The pro-
tein-rich skim milk has been used to make casein for the slick
coating on magazine paper, glues, plastic buttons, buckles,
and water paints. But much of the skim milk was fed to live-
stock for want of some better use. Now, however, casein
from skim milk produces a warm, durable synthetic fiber,
Aralac, used today in dress fabrics, hats, ties, scarfs, blankets.
The new fiber blends well with wool, mohair, cotton, rayon.
It is more expensive than rayon and cotton but less costly
than wool and fur, and will help particularly to supplement
our deficient supply of wool.
Another important source of protein needed by industry is
the soybean. When these beans were imported from Man-
churia years ago, self-respecting cows turned up their noses
at them. Today these beans rank near the top of the list of
cash crops. No other crop under the sun is quite like the soy-
bean. It contains twice as much protein as meat, about twice
the calcium of milk, and more than double the minerals of
wheat. And, because of its rich oil and protein base, the soy-
Fortunes in Agriculture 203
bean can be used to make a great variety of products ranging
from foods and soap to varnishes, textiles, and automobile
This incomplete list gives you a rough idea of what to ex-
pect of the soybean in the future:
Foods: substitutes for butter, lard, meat, coffee, and as
flour, cooking and salad oil, and cereals. Clothing: substitutes
for wool, cotton, leather, rubber. Cosmetics: soap, face cream,
lipstick. Medicine, synthetic hormones, vitamin concentrates,
medicinal oils. Home: paint, varnish, roofing, linoleum, dra-
peries. Industry: lubricants, explosives, adhesives, automobile
parts, printing ink.
The Castor Bean a New Treasure
Chemurgists have promoted the growing of many other
crops with industrial uses. They believe, for example, that the
castor bean may match the success of soybeans as a cash crop.
Aside from its well-known medicinal use, castor oil is used in
soap, paints, varnishes, inks, linoleum, artificial leather, dyes,
and as a lubricant for automotive, aviation, and industrial en-
gines. The fine, strong fiber of the plant may prove valuable
for cordage and textiles and the rest of the stalk is convertible
into cellulose for making plastics and many other products
for the armed forces and civilians. We have imported millions
of dollars' worth of castor beans from India and Brazil, and
the raising of the beans in the United States has been discour-
aged by low prices. But when the chemurgists get through,
castor bean fields may rival the cornfields of Iowa.
Flax Straw for Cigarette Paper
A lot of cigarette paper goes up in smoke each year in the
United States. Three years ago our cigarette manufacturers
204 Miracles Ahead!
were dependent upon paper made in France, Belgium, and
other European countries from linen rags and old hemp sail-
cloth. Today hundreds of tons of cigarette paper are made
each year from flax straw produced in the United States.
Flaxseed also is converted into linseed oil for paints and var-
nishes. Flax will give the wheat-producing states another
valuable cash crop.
Hemp is another fiber crop that can be used in making
cigarette paper, and it is also converted into rope, twine, and
heavy thread. Hempseed is useful for oil. Ramie, chia, and
perilla are small plants that may someday be important farm
crops. Ramie is useful for fiber, and chia and perilla furnish
oily seeds. Tung oil, made from the nuts of a tree and usually
imported from China, is being produced in Florida and Louisi-
ana. This valuable oil is needed to waterproof insulation on
electrical equipment. English walnuts yield an oil for food
and for soaps and paints. Ground walnut shells serve as a base
for insecticides, plastics, firebrick, and dynamite. New uses
for pecans, almonds, and filberts are being found every day.
Our Own Herbs and Drugs
Because of the excessive amount of hand labor required, we
have preferred to import herbs and drugs from foreign coun-
tries. But most of these products can be grown in the United
States, and their production has been encouraged to take the
place of imports cut by war conditions.
Chemurgy also has been busy finding new uses for the
older farm crops. First consider King Cotton, who has suf-
fered several years from price-depressing surpluses. Machines
have been developed to remove down or short fibers from
Fortunes in Agriculture 205
cottonseed. This down is called linters and is almost pure cel-
lulose. It is used to produce rayon, plastics for fountain pens
and automobile safety glass, moving-picture film, and explo-
sives. Cotton stalks can be used for wallboard. Cottonseed oil
is converted into vegetable shortening, margarine, and salad
Cottonleather, a heavy, woven cotton fabric impregnated
with a plastic binder, has been developed by the Southern
Friction Materials Company, near Charlotte, North Carolina.
This tan-colored material is as hard, but also as flexible, as
sole leather. The small plant rolled out the Cottonleather at
the rate of a mile in four hours. When this output did not
meet the demand, the company began licensing large manu-
facturers to produce Cottonleather. The Bigelow-Sanford
Carpet Co., Inc., also announced the development of a syn-
thetic outer sole for shoes which it said would give 50 per
cent more "mileage" than leather. It is made of tightly woven
cotton treated under pressure with a synthetic resin to in-
crease resistance to abrasion, heat, and moisture. Bigelow-
Sanford believes the new product will become a permanent
factor in the shoe industry.
Cotton Fire Hose
Cotton technologists in one of the four Regional Research
Laboratories of the United States Department of Agriculture
have found new uses for cotton cloth and yarn. Until re-
cently all sandbags for military uses were made from jute or
burlap, imported from India. Department of Agriculture re-
search workers developed specially treated cotton fabrics that
are satisfactory for sandbag purposes. These men also have
206 Miracles Ahead!
pressed research on the production of fire hose which would
not require scarce rubber or linen. Large amounts of cotton
fire-hose yarn will be used, opening another market for
Tire manufacturers long have used cotton fabric in tire
carcasses. More recently "cotton roads" have been built in a
number of states to try out a specially woven cotton mesh
used as a reinforcement for asphalt highways. "Some day,
perhaps," declared the National Association of Manufactur-
ers, "you will ride on partly cotton roads in a partly cotton
automobile on partly cotton tires to a picnic where you will
use cotton seed oil on a salad which you will eat with a cotton-
Corn for Photographic Films
Much of our corn is used to feed hogs and other farm
animals. Millions of bushels also are converted into corn meal,
cornstarch, corn syrup, and corn sugar by manufacturing
plants. But chemurgists have shown us that the cornstalks and
corncobs should not be ignored. They contain valuable cellu-
lose used in the production of fibers, photographic films,
plastics, and scores of other products.
Oat Hulls in the Synthetic-Rubber Field
The Industrial Bulletin of Arthur D. Little, Inc., points out
that furfural, an old chemurgic product made from oat hulls,
is getting a boost from the synthetic-rubber program which
may give it a much bigger place in the postwar chemical
"Furfural was introduced commercially in 1922 by the
Quaker Oats Co., following a research program on the dispo-
Fortunes in Agriculture 207
sition of the oat hulls resulting from the milling of rolled
oats. It is manufactured rather simply by the reaction of
dilute sulfuric acid with the oat hulls and is a mobile pale-
colored liquid with a pungent odor. ... It was first used in
synthetic resin manufacture to react with phenol, as does
formaldehyde in forming the phenol-formaldehyde, or bake-
lite, type of resin. Phenol-furfural resins, which were developed
before furfural became commercially available, are distinc-
tive in some respects, including free flowing during molding;
their uses include bonding of abrasive wheels and they are
said to be used in cementing most U. S. electric light bulbs
to their brass bases.
"The largest use of furfural, however, has been as a solvent;
in 1927 it was found useful for refining wood rosin, another
chemurgic development, to produce a lighter-colored, more
salable product. Since 1933 a number of plants using furfural
in the solvent refining of lubricating oil and diesel fuel have
been built. ... Its solvent action is responsible for furfural's
place in the synthetic rubber program, where it will be used
in a number of plants to purify butadiene by dissolving the
butadiene and thus separating it from undesired reaction
Several other farm crops are being used in the synthetic-
rubber program. Alcohol from grains, and from high-test
molasses, is converted into butadiene for the manufacture of
Buna S rubber. And in June, 1943, the Ontario Paper Com-
pany plant at Thorold, Ontario, began producing alcohol for
rubber from waste sulphite liquor a by-product of the man-
ufacture of sulphite pulp for paper.
By-Products of Wood
Mention of the Ontario plant serves to introduce the subject
of wood chemistry. We are inclined to forget that a tree, like
coal or oil, is a vegetable matter and can be made to produce
2o8 Miracles Ahead!
as many products as the others. Wood is a combination of
cellulose, long hairlike fibers; a small amount of sugar; and
lignin, a resin or natural glue that holds the fibers of cellulose
together. Cellulose serves as the base for plastics, rayon, paper,
and many other products. Lignin is the source of vanillin in
vanilla extract, which is replacing the natural product since
that supply was cut off by the war. Since it is a good adhesive,
lignin is used to bind laminated and plywoods for the con-
struction of airplanes. It also serves as a tanning agent for
leather and produces an excellent, low-cost plastic.
The millions of gallons of sulphite liquors which are
dumped into streams and lakes by our paper mills contain valu-
able lignin and sugar from wood. Therefore the plant at
Thorold, Ontario, which uses the waste sulphite liquor, is a
great step forward. It was made possible by the work of Dr.
Donald F. Othmer and his associates at the Brooklyn (New
York) Polytechnic Institute and uses a process far superior to
that of the Nazis, the pioneers in this work. Dr. Othmer adds
that the thousands of tons of sawdust which are burned each
year are a gold mine of valuable chemicals. He treated one
hundred pounds of sawdust with chemicals such as lye, lime,
and sulphuric acid and obtained one hundred and twelve
pounds of oxalic acid (used to make celluloid, rayon, explo-
sives, leathers, etc.), twenty pounds of acetic acid, four pounds
of formic acid, and six pounds of wood alcohol. Sawdust and
wood chips also have been used by William H. Mason to
make a valuable building material, Masonite.
For many years the Northern spruce supplied the pulp-
wood for newsprint. Then the late Dr. Charles E. Herty
proved that the Southern pine, which grows rapidly on all
sorts of land, could be used to make newsprint. Now the
acres of Southern pine are paying farmers bigger dividends.
Dr. Henry G. Knight, chief of the Bureau of Agricultural
Chemistry and Engineering of the Department of Agricul-
Fortunes in Agriculture 209
ture, tells how another decidedly Southern industry that of
naval stores has aided the war effort and will prove even
more important in the future.
"In the early days," he said, "this industry's principal prod-
uct pine pitch was considered indispensable for caulking
ships. Today the raw materials are rosin and turpentine al-
most entirely. Their derivatives figure prominently in war
materials. Thanks to turpentine and a farseeing synthetic
chemical industry, we can now get synthetically the camphor
we need for smokeless powder, plastics and other require-
ments. Our scientists discovered some time ago that American
turpentine is rich in pinenes and constitutes excellent raw
material for synthetic camphor. Unlike World War I, when
Japan was our ally, the supply of natural camphor is now
completely shut off."
No Soap Shortage Ahead
Dr. Knight continues:
"The supply of palm and coconut oils from the Pacific
Islands is also shut off and fat and oils available for soap stock
are steadily decreasing. We need fear no serious soap shortage,
however, for we can look to rosin to supplement our soap
stock. As this Bureau has shown, rosin is not a filler, but when
judiciously used with soap oils it will make good soap.
"The naval stores industry is not one of the big industries
of this country. Nevertheless, some four to five hundred thou-
sand people in the pinebelt from North Carolina to Eastern
Texas depend on it in whole or part for a living. Today the
pine resin, or 'pine gum' as it is called, is still converted into
but two raw materials rosin and turpentine. But," he adds,
"the natural resin complex, consisting largely of terpenes and
diterpene, is, like coal tar, destined to become a source for a
host of valuable chemicals chemicals which are not only im-
2io Miracles Ahead!
portant in the present emergency but which may play an im-
portant role in the post-war economy of the South."
Experts on wood chemistry emphasize that other natural
resources, like coal, oil, and minerals, are exhaustible. But
scientific reforestation and conservation measures can con-
stantly replenish our supply of wood, and further research
will open new markets to this valuable raw material.
We now look at research in other fields. Here, too, we find
new products and processes that will help the farmer grow
better crops on the farm of tomorrow, and also enjoy life
more while he is doing it.
The synthesis of ammonia to supply nitrogen for explosives
will result in abundant supplies of low-cost fertilizer being
available in postwar years to increase crops and enrich worn-
out lands. When plants grow they remove nitrogen and other
materials from the soil. If the plants die where they grow,
most of these materials are returned to the soil. But when
plants are removed from the soil these materials are lost, and
they must be returned by the use of certain soil-building crops
or by the application of fertilizer.
In recent years the TVA has developed an excellent pro-
gram of experiments with phosphate fertilizers and in the
education of farmers for better agriculture. In two hundred
years erosion by wind and water has ruined or impoverished
about 282,000,000 acres in the United States. Water erosion
takes more than 3,000,000,000 tons of soil from farmlands
each year. Experts in the TVA and the Department of Agri-
culture have shown farmers how to protect their land by ter-
racing, strip cropping, contour plowing, check dams, and
crop rotation. These methods make "running water walk off
the land," thus keeping it from carrying away valuable top-
Fortunes in Agriculture 211
soil. They also protect the land from wind erosion.
Government officials assure us that the all-out effort to raise
"Food for Freedom" is not going to cause them to forget soil-
"We had a good food administration in World War I, but
we didn't have an agriculture program at all," they explain.
"That was why the range of the great Western plains was
ploughed up and planted to wheat and finally turned to
dust. We have a program now and it will not include any dust
bowls caused by wind erosion on unprotected land. There is
a surplus of wheat, and that land which has been restored by
tree planting and the return of Buffalo grass will remain a
range just as it was cut out to be."
In areas where the soil cannot be saved, or where there isn't
enough soil to start with, the new soil-less agriculture can take
over successfully. More than a dozen years of experiments in
the cultivation of vegetable crops through water feeding, or
hydroponics, rather than through soil feeding, has proved the
value of soil-less agriculture. The pioneer in hydroponics is
Professor W. F. Gericke of the University of California. He
grew vegetables in shallow tanks of water to which the chemi-
cal fertilizers had been added. The seeds were sown in a layer
of sawdust or moss on wire netting just above the water into
which the roots grew.
In a letter to Lancelot Hogben, Professor Gericke gave
details of the yields obtained by tank culture. Four basins,
each providing 25 sq. ft. of water surface, yielded 1,224
Ib. of ripe tomatoes. The 28 Ib. of chemicals required for this
crop cost less than three cents a pound. A basin providing
one-hundredth of an acre of water surface yielded 24.65
bushels of potatoes. These were grown in the open and re-
212 Miracles Ahead!
quired 40 Ib. of salts. While large yields can also be obtained
with cereals, the cost of chemicals is here so large an item that
the method may not justify the cost of the equipment.
Farming in the Desert
Hogben believes "we can only guess at the wider implica-
tions of this biotechnical advance." Plant growth is limited by
three main factors: light energy, mineral salts, and water.
Agricultural production has hitherto been confined to regions
where the supply of these three essential elements is already
adequate, or, as with the last two, where the local supply can
be supplemented by manuring or irrigation without too much
trouble or loss. The energy of sunlight goes to waste over the
hot deserts where rainfall is scanty, and the sand will hold
neither water nor salts. Tank culture, on the other hand, limits
water loss to evaporation.
The Great American Desert, and other wastelands in the
United States, may be turned into farms and factories by
hydroponics. And the city dweller may be able to balance his
food budget and give his family a better diet by rigging up a
soil-less garden in the living room.
Exciting experiments have been conducted with growth-
promoting substances. Scientists in the Bureau of Plant Indus-
try of the Department of Agriculture have found that toma-
toes can be made to produce seedless, more solidly meaty
fruits by treating the plants with the fumes of naphthoxyacetic
acid. Previous methods of promoting plant growth usually in-
volved the use of sprays or even direct application of the sub-
stances to the plants. The new method saves a lot of time and
Fortunes in Agriculture 213
The Russians report that butylene gas has a stimulating
effect on the growth of fruit trees. They enclose the trees in
a tent for two weeks before the normal or desired leafing, and
pass butylene gas into the tents for a period of one or two
hours. Other experiments in the United States show that pota-
toes will grow twice as fast and increase their yield if treated
with propylene, a petroleum by-product.
One of the most powerful growth-promoting substances is
colchicine, a poisonous drug extracted from the roots of the
ordinary autumn crocus. It acts on the chromosomes of seeds
to create new varieties of giant plants. Soon you will be able
to have blackberries, strawberries, tomatoes, radishes, and
other fruits and vegetables two or three times the size of any
present species. Giant garden flowers also will be available.
Tobacco, cotton, sugar cane, and many other plants which
furnish the farmer most of his income will be larger, of better
quality, and more resistant to disease.
Meteorologists are busy today telling Allied bombers when
the weather will be right to go out and dump a load of bombs
on German war plants. Important gains have been made in
the long-term prediction of weather. All this knowledge will
be on hand in the future to tell the farmer when to plant crops
and when to expect trouble. Scientists are determined to "do
something" about the weather, and this adds up to good news
for the farmer.
Making the Farm More Livable
We have talked a lot about how abundant supplies of low-
cost light metals, alloy steels, and plastics will revolutionize
the construction of homes, airplanes, automobiles, and other
postwar products. These materials will make better agricul-
tural machinery, which can be sold at low prices and will be
easier to keep in repair. This will mean that the farmer can
raise and harvest his crops with fewer man-hours of labor,
and therefore at less production cost. We have already voted
the jeep "the vehicle most likely to succeed" when it is grad-
uated from the Army and goes to work for the farmer.
Prefabricated farm buildings and dwellings, which can be
assembled and demounted in a few hours, will bring better
living and working conditions within the reach of many more
farmers, as will the advance in radio, television, "walkie-
talkie" phones, and other electronic devices.
The revolution in transportation will also aid the farmer.
No longer will his market for perishable products be re-
stricted by distance from urban areas. Air-transport lines,
using light cargo planes and helicopters for feeder-line service
to isolated sections, will pick up his products and deliver
factory-made goods to his door. Then, too, the dehydration
and quick freezing of farm products, plus speedy air delivery
to faraway lands, will broaden the farmer's market and help
banish the fear of price-depressing surpluses. The paradox of
surplus crops and starving people will be banished by lower-
cost production and lower-cost, speedy transportation of
All the above factors should add up to a shift of more peo-
ple from crowded cities to "family-size farms" near urban
areas. Two Harvard architects, Dr. Walter Gropius and Dr.
Martin Wagner, envision a postwar America in which urban
congestion would be relieved by new townships of five thou-
sand persons, ranged along a network of superhighways.
They contend that these tiny, factory-residential towns, sur-
rounded by individual farm belts, would help empty the city
slums and inaugurate a new era for millions of industrial
workers and farmers.
The National Association of Manufacturers comments that
"the rise of small factories in rural communities has helped
in some areas to provide work for farm labor needed only at
Fortunes in Agriculture 215
certain seasons. Such factories produce parts of products
assembled by larger factories, or partly manufactured mate-
rials to be completed elsewhere. In other fields of manufac-
turing it has been found also that small plants in rural areas
have advantages. If manufacturing continues to spread in this
way, this movement too will aid in solving present farm
In its report on postwar planning the National Resources
Planning Board noted that the war program had accelerated
the spread of plants to small cities and towns throughout the
country. It urged that plants in certain communities be oper-
ated after the war to prevent the dislocation of farming and
business life in those communities.
As we see it, the farmer can look forward to a postwar
world in which advances in chemurgy and many other fields
will bring him a higher income and better living and working
FOOD FOR BUOYANT HEALTH
THE MIRACLES AHEAD in food in our world of tomorrow will
not be miracles of strange new concoctions. They will be
miracles of enough food and enough of the right foods, for
all the peoples of the world. This miracle, when it is accom-
plished, will be a threefold accomplishment of education, pro-
duction, and science.
Even America, with our much-boasted high standard of
living, has never been a well-fed nation. In 1929, our richest
year, three-fourths of our people spent five hundred dollars
or less per family for food. Three-fourths of our people lived
on a diet that was principally oleomargarine, flour, canned
milk, potatoes, and dried beans. Only one-fourth of our people
in that, our richest, year were able to afford adequate or liberal
diets, including the more expensive foods like fresh butter,
eggs, vegetables, fruits and lean meats.
Steibling and Ward, of the United States Bureau of Home
Economics, contend that America has never produced enough
food to give all its people a liberal diet, rich in meat, dairy
products, and fresh vegetables. If the other three-fourths of
our people are to have those foods, it would be necessary for
our farmers, according to these economists, to produce 70
per cent more cows, 35 per cent more beef cattle, 35 per cent
more pigs, 35 per cent more poultry, 50 per cent more sheep,
100 per cent more vegetables, and 100 per cent more fruits.
Why, then, have we had periods of apparent surplus? Two
reasons can cause crops to rot in one state while people live on
a mere subsistence diet in another state: first, the people may
Food for Buoyant Health 217
not have enough money to spend for a liberal diet even if the
food were available in the markets; second, dislocations and
inadequacies in transportation, farm labor, and factory help
can be severe enough to cause failure to care for the crops.
Urgent Need of Food Education
As a nation we are probably better fed now than before the
war. For we are being educated.
We are being educated to think in terms of conserving our
food supply. The Food Distribution Administration has given
us some appalling figures on the waste of our food supply.
According to them, the food wasted in American homes in
1942 was sufficient to feed the entire population and the
armed forces, too, for eight weeks.
The armed forces and Lend-Lease took 1 3 per cent of our
total food supply. American homes wasted 15 per cent of the
total food supply. The total wastage of food, from the farm
to the garbage pail, was 40 per cent. In other words, we
wasted three times as much food as it took to feed our Army
and to provide all the food sent abroad in Lend-Lease.
We are being educated to stop this waste. And we are be-
ing educated to think in terms of buying health when we buy
food. Until the present emergency made the health of the
nation a matter of acute concern, our interest in a really suf-
ficient diet was moderate, to say the least. When enriched
bread was first put on the market, many storekeepers intro-
duced it and then stopped handling it. There was not enough
consumer demand for the added value to enable the store-
keeper to stock it. People went right on buying the same
wrapper they had bought before, and the enriched bread lay
on the shelf. Education is changing that situation.
However, education still has a long way to go in changing
the habits of the American public. It has long been a favorite
2i8 Miracles Ahead!
boast of many people that they don't "eat to live"; they "live
to eat." But too often the man who "lives to eat" does not eat
to live at the peak of his health.
Dr. Victor G. Heiser, former staff member of the Rocke-
feller Institute for Medical Research, agrees with other scien-
tists that physical degeneration is the price modern man has
paid for his present type of "progress." According to Dr.
Heiser, recent experiments with rats fed the diets of two sec-
tions of India illustrate vividly that "man is what he eats."
One group of rats, fed the diet of the strong, hardy people of
northern India, reached an age equivalent to fifty years of
human life without disease. A second group of rats, fed the
diet of the stunted and disease-ridden people of southern In-
dia, were subject to thirty-nine diseases.
Modern practices have processed the life-giving and health-
giving vitamins and minerals out of our foods. Now it be-
hooves the scientists to restore these vitamins and minerals to
our foods, and the educators to teach us to demand these ele-
ments in what we buy.
Henry Borsook and William Huse, in their Public Affairs
pamphlet Vitamins for Health, give this striking example of
how "uneducated buying" can contribute to the vitamin de-
ficiency of the nation:
"Recently a Pasadena child brought the following sixteen
items to school in his lunch box during a week: bread, butter,
potato chips, chicken, bacon, mayonnaise, apple, banana, fruit
salad, cooked peaches, strawberries, raisins, jelly, tomato, let-
tuce, and cake. The child's diet was deficient in calcium and
phosphate. It was adequate, without being abundant, in vita-
min A and B .
"Another child brought only six items in the course of the
Food for Buoyant Health 219
week: milk, bread, butter, mixed fruit salad, peanut butter,
and carrots. These lunches were adequate in every respect."
Not only are we being educated to make our dollars and
points go further at the market, but housewives are being
taught not to destroy the value they get at the market by
wrong handling of food. We would laugh at a savage who,
meeting an egg for the first time, threw away the inside of the
egg and ate the shell. But far too many cooks have overcooked
vegetables, thrown the minerals and the annihilated vitamins
down the drain, and fed their family the husks "daintily ar-
ranged for taste appeal."
Miss Nichols, of the Food Distribution Administration, says
that one of the most serious forms of waste is "hidden waste"
of the vitamin content of food through improper handling
such as squeezing orange juice the night before, and prepar-
ing a vegetable salad several hours before eating, and cooking
vegetables in too much water.
An article in the magazine You, for fall, 1941, sums up the
vital necessity of the mineral content of the body thus:
"You are very watery. Your brains are 79 per cent water,
your body as a whole is 70 per cent water. It is the other 30
per cent of ingredients that makes all the difference between
a puddle and a person. That vital 30 per cent is composed of
proteins, fats, minerals, and carbohydrates, in that order.
"Some seven pounds of you consists of a variety of metals
ranging from salt to aluminum. Nobody has yet figured out
what the aluminum is for, but at least 1 1 of the other minerals
are as necessary to you as the steel girders are to a sky
"All the iron in your body would make only five carpet
tacks, but without it you would promptly smother to death,
220 Miracles Ahead!
for the oxygen you breathe could not be taken up by the
"We often waste the most mineral-rich parts of our food.
In animal foods, the minerals are most abundant in organs,
blood, bone, eggs and milk. In vegetables, they are found
mainly in the brown parts of grain and sugar, the peelings of
fruits and root vegetables, and the outer green leaves of let-
tuce all of which are usually thrown away. And since the
usable inorganic matter in food dissolves easily, much of it is
thrown out in the water in which our vegetables are cooked.
"Your seven pounds of minerals might not mean much to
the defense program, but they mean a lot to you in health
and efficiency. It's worth your while to see that your diet
contains enough mineral-providing foods, properly prepared."
Yes, we can become much more educated on the subject of
food, to the advantage of both our pocketbooks and our
health. We may even catch up with the five-thousand-year-
old knowledge of the Chinese on the value of the soybean.
Napoleon Counted on Food
Just as the emergency is teaching the housewife to make
her market basket go further with less food in it, so this war,
as earlier ones, will, through force of necessity, teach our
food processors many things. Philip H. Van Itallie, in his
article "Dehydrated Foods" in the summer (1943) issue of
Predictions of Things to Come, tells us that Napoleon "early
realized that the discovery of a foolproof method of preserving
food from spoilage would give him one of the most effective
weapons in his widespread campaigns. He offered a prize for
the best solution to this problem common to all warriors, and
Nicolas Appert was thus encouraged to give the world his
discovery of the art of canning."
Just as the Napoleonic Wars brought us the invention of
Food for Buoyant Health 221
canning, the first World War encouraged the development
of frozen foods, and dehydrated foods are being perfected in
World War II.
Napoleon's most famous military observation was that an
army travels on its stomach. Even in Napoleon's time, when a
good day's march was less than forty miles, the problem of
food supply was as serious as the problems of ordnance and
Today, when our mechanized Army rolls to a battle front
at forty miles an hour, or flies to a battle front on the other
side of the world at several hundred miles an hour, the prob-
lem of "keeping up with the stomach" taxes our production,
our processing, our transportation, and our ingenuity to the
Just as the army of the fighting front marches to battle on
its stomach, so the army of the home front must march to
victory on its stomach. A nation geared to speed up must be
nourished to sustain that tempo.
Protein Shortages the Most Deadly
When the end of fighting comes, the people will have a
long road to march a road back to sanity, peace, and justice.
And the army of peace, as the army of war, must march on
its stomach. For peace does not come when the guns are
silenced. Peace does not come so long as the specter of starva-
tion stalks the land. For when the specter of starvation stalks
the world, the specters of plague and pestilence follow in its
wake. Dr. Paul R. Cannon, chairman of the department of
pathology of the University of Chicago, has spoken grim
words of warning on the inevitable aftermath of prolonged
According to Dr. Cannon, the link which brings plague
and pestilence in the wake of starvation is protein deficiency.
222 Miracles Ahead!
Our resistance to disease germs depends on substances called
"antibodies." These antibodies are made up of proteins. When
our diets are short of meat, cheese, eggs, and other proteins,
our bodies are short of antibodies.
"If the war goes on long enough," says Dr. Cannon, "pro-
tein shortages will be the cause of Hitler's defeat. In all
lengthy sieges of the past, the combination of hunger, famine
and disease has contributed to the final capitulation. It also
may play the determining role in the coming siege of Hitler's
"When people are undergoing severe malnutrition, neither
slogans, propaganda, nor the fanfare of trumpets can induce
them to struggle hopelessly against overwhelming odds."
According to Dr. Cannon, the food intake in calories in
the occupied countries is already far below standard 35 per
cent below in Belgium, and yet lower in Greece and Poland.
The death rate from tuberculosis is climbing in all the occu-
pied countries, and typhus is prevalent in Poland.
Dehydrated Foods to the Fore
The problem of augmenting the food supply of Europe is
a big problem now, and it will be a far bigger problem after
the war. It will tax production, and tax transportation even
more severely. Two of the most effective developments in
waging the fight for Victory today can be the most effective
aids in waging the fight for peace the cargo plane and de-
The two most expensive cargoes America has shipped to
Europe in terms of value given for space required are air
and water. Every time a convoy of ten ships goes out, if nine
of the ships are filled with air and water, only one can carry
food and the weapons of war. Yet every time ten shiploads
of "standard" foods are sent to Europe, nine-tenths of the
Food for Buoyant Health 223
cargo is air and water. Therefore, it is the processors of dehy-
drated foods who are helping lick the submarine menace now,
and who will help banish the menace of pestilence and plague
R. B. Tobin, formerly the dehydrated-food expert of the
Beech-Nut Packing Company, has stated that one hundred
cargo planes, loaded with dehydrated foods, could supply the
daily food requirement of England. For example, a five-gallon
container of dehydrated beets, when prepared for the table,
will serve six hundred men. Also, says Mr. Tobin, dehydra-
tion has a further advantage of not destroying the vitamin
content of food.
"For example," he says, "spinach loses 75 per cent of its
vitamin Bi when canned. But in dehydrated spinach, the vita-
min Bi is preserved almost 100 per cent. Canned peas lose 73
per cent of Bi as compared to a loss of 10 to 20 per cent in
dehydrated peas. Studies on meat show that there was less loss
of vitamin Bi and 62 in dehydrated meat than in the canned
Dehydration removes from 50 to 90 per cent of the bulk
from food, and compression, or smashing out of the air under
tremendous pressure, removes from 30 to 70 per cent of the
remaining bulk. A compressed brick of potatoes the size of a
pack of cigarettes, when prepared for the table, will serve
four. A package the size of a shoe box will serve one hundred
Dehydrated foods were introduced in the first World War.
They did not "take." Any resemblance to the original flavor
of the food was purely coincidental. The soldiers took one
look at the pasty gray mess that was called potatoes, and de-
cided that Sherman was right. They protested loud and long.
When dehydrated foods were proposed in World War II, the
Army eyed the subject askance. But when the shipping short-
age became acute the Army decided to try again, and the
224 Miracles Ahead!
processors of dehydrated foods were urged to try a little
harder. They did, and with happy results. Dehydrated pota-
toes today, when "reconstituted" and served to the soldiers,
are a far cry from the sorry spuds of the first World
One of the most interesting packets of dehydrated food
prepared for our soldiers today is the U ration, a packet to
provide balanced meals for a group of men out on maneuvers
which take them far from the mess hall. The list of foods
available in the U-ration packet give us some idea of the
striking range of foods now available in dehydrated form:
tomato juice, whole- wheat cereal, sliced bacon, biscuits, lem-
onade, coffee, bean soup, roast beef, quick-cooking rice, hard
candy, meat and vegetable stew, dried prunes, apricot spread,
root beer, gum drops, and canned butter.
The canned butter provided in the U ration is the combina-
tion of butter and hydrogenated vegetable fat which has been
developed by Kraft. The mixture will not melt at 120 degrees,
nor become rancid in tropic heat.
Other foods now being successfully dehydrated are: car-
rots, beets, corn, potatoes, spinach, celery, asparagus, bananas,
pears, cranberries, peaches, grapes, and raspberries.
For the duration most of the supply of commercially de-
hydrated foods will be used by the Army. But already dehy-
drators are on the market for home use.
The Public Service Company of Chicago has given us the
data on a simple method of home dehydration without special
"The equipment needed is a wood frame with some ordi-
nary cotton curtain netting stretched over it. This is placed
on top the metal rack which is standard equipment in gas
"First, steam vegetables to be dehydrated, using a tightly
covered container and suspending vegetables above rapidly
Food for Buoyant Health 225
boiling water. Second, remove skin from vegetables or fruit.
Third, cut vegetables into thin slices. (This does not apply
to beans or leafy vegetables.) Fourth, put the slices on the
cloth tray and place in the gas oven. Bring the oven tempera-
ture to 150 degrees, leaving door open to permit air circula-
tion. The vegetables will be completely dehydrated in four
and one-half to six hours.
"Vegetables are reduced to about one-fourth to one-ninth
their original size. They may be stored for future use in glass
jars. When wanted, they are soaked in water ordinarily
about three hours and then the food is cooked as desired."
Van Itallie says this of the food problem today, the bigger
one of tomorrow, and the part dehydration may play in the
"If the war lasts several years more, and we are among
those who think it will, the quantities of food which America
will be called upon to conserve by all available means will
become so staggering that every housewife will have to do her
bit to reduce the load on the country's food preserving
"We have only just begun to get a taste of it. No more
canned pork and beans. The beans will keep indefinitely
when dried, and to cook them is up to the individual house-
wife. When canned food rationing comes upon us, there is
bound to be a trend toward an even greater consumption of
fresh foods, unless transportation facilities become so con-
gested that there is not enough truck or railroad space to ac-
commodate the bulk of fresh foods. Should this condition
arise and the present scarcity of metals continue, then we will
all be eating dehydrated foods, for these are the best answer
to transportation shortages. They occupy a minimum of bulk
and require a minimum of steel and tin. In fact, for domestic
consumption, dehydrated foods can be packed in moisture-
proof, cellophane-lined cardboard containers. For export,
226 Miracles Ahead!
however, tin cans will probably continue to be preferred,
since determined rats make short work of cardboard.
"There are 130 million of us in this country. Right now we
are probably feeding 200 million. Before the war is over, we
may be feeding three starving people abroad for every Ameri-
can. And after the war it will take years to undo the malnu-
trition and starvation now stalking this globe. As we see it,
the dehydrated food industry, now coming of age, is destined
to become America's next frontier of opportunity."
The Mechanical Cow
Another development is furnishing food to our fighting
man today and will furnish a most vital food to the under-
nourished millions of the postwar world. The invention is the
"mechanical cow." The "mechanical cow," which is furnish-
ing fresh milk on far-flung battlefields and on ships long at
sea, works on the same principle as the plasma bank, which
furnished blood for transfusions at outposts far from blood
donors and blood banks. In the preparation of blood plasma
the blood is dehydrated and the flaky powder that results can
be shipped anywhere and kept indefinitely. When it is wanted
for use, only sterile water is needed to turn it into blood again.
Milk for the "mechanical cow" is broken into fats and solids.
The solids are dehydrated. The fats are preserved in accord-
ance with recent methods for keeping butter fresh in any
climate and for indefinite periods of time. The milk pow-
der and the butter can be shipped anywhere in the world.
When it is wanted for use, it is only necessary to add water
and to whirl the mixture of butter, milk powder, and water
in a machine and, presto, fresh milk is ready to serve. The
product is a far advance over any previous development in
milk powders or dried milk. Not only has the "mechanical
cow" made fresh milk available in unexpected places, but it
Food for Buoyant Health 227
has given our fighting men that favorite American dish ice
When we consider the vital part milk can play in curing
the evils of malnutrition, and consider the availability of fresh
milk thus made possible in any corner of the globe, we rate
the "mechanical cow" along with the dehydrated and proc-
essed foods of tomorrow as true bringers of a miracle world. 1
1 Anheuser-Busch Inc., of St. Louis, announced on August 6, 1943, the
production of synthetic beefsteak from a high protein type of yeast. In mak-
ing the synthetic steak, yeast is mixed with water and molasses. This mixture
is treated with ammonia, which converts the yeast to protein. During the
process air is stirred into the substance and 12 hours later the "steaks" are
ready. This product is being delivered to the Army and the Lend-Lease
Administration, and after the war it will help put cheap, vitamin-filled food
on postwar tables. It has the same amount of nutrition as steak and can be
compared to beefsteak so far as value is concerned.
MEDICINE LOOKS AHEAD
THE MEDICAL PROGRESS of the future is heralded by the amaz-
ing accomplishments of wartime medicine.
Putting it statistically, look what happened to the wounded
in the early period of the war.
More than 97 per cent of Navy and Marine wounded from
Pearl Harbor to March 31, 1943, have recovered, according
to the Office of War Information. Of all Navy and Marine
personnel wounded, only 2.6 per cent died subsequently.
Fifty-three per cent were returned to duty. Still under treat-
ment, as of March 31, were 43.5 per cent. Invalided from
service were 0.9 per cent.
Incomplete data on our Army casualties up to December,
1942, showed a fatality rate of less than 4 per cent compared
with 7.7 per cent in the first World War. In the Solomons
fighting, deaths from abdominal wounds were less than 5 per
cent. In the first World War 80 per cent of all abdominal
wounds were fatal. In the original occupation of North Africa
the only deaths were those of men killed outright or so badly
wounded that nothing could have saved them. Four hundred
soldiers who were badly burned by flaming oil during the
landings were given blood-plasma transfusions. All but six
New Medical Kit
When "Johnny Doughboy" gets his gun he also gets in-
oculations to make him immune to diseases which killed
Medicine Looks Ahead 229
more men than bullets killed in other wars. He is fortified by
vitamins C and K, the former to give quicker healing power
and the latter to insure swifter coagulation of the blood in
case of wounds. Then he is given "weapons" to fight infec-
tion and is taught how to use them.
Each man has fastened to his belt, easily removable, a first-
aid packet, a package of sulfadiazine tablets an improved
sulfa drug and sulfanilamide powder. If the soldier is hit he
tries to take the sulfadiazine tablets. A special plastic container
releases them into his hand one at a time, so that the hurt man
will not spill them on the ground. He also dusts sulfa powder
in his wound, and uses the first-aid packet.
The Hospital Corps at the Front
Generally, however, a hospital corpsman will have reached
the soldier before he has had time to use his first-aid packet.
Long experience has taught the Army and Navy doctors just
how many corpsmen to assign to each group of fighting men.
Often a corpsman is beside a wounded soldier a minute or two
after he is hit.
The corpsman carries a larger kit of supplies and admin-
isters quickly to the soldier, giving him an injection of a drug
which stops pain almost instantly and increases his ability to
withstand the ordeal. This drug is carried in a new-type hypo-
dermic which is marvelously simple and speedy to operate.
The needle is already sterilized for instant use. After treat-
ing the soldier the corpsman ties a tag to his belt telling what
type of treatment was given, fixes a bit of gauze to a bayonet
or stick to mark the place where the soldier is, and then goes
forward to help some other man.
Attracted by the white cloth, the litter bearers are next on
the scene. They are not ordinary privates, picked at random
to aid their buddies. They are trained men who know how to
230 Miracles Ahead!
administer first aid, how to lift a wounded man to avoid fur-
ther injury, how to protect a fracture with splints. They
have even amputated a leg or arm in order to save a life. Fur-
thermore, these men work fast. In a few minutes a wounded
man may be picked up and carried to a battalion hospital unit
four hundred to one thousand yards back. The fallen man
usually is picked up in less time than it takes an ambulance to
reach a street accident in one of our large cities.
The battalion aid station is a miniature hospital on wheels
which goes wherever the soldier goes. It is staffed by two
physicians and assistants, and has operating instruments, anes-
thetics, sulfanilamide, opiates to relieve pain, hot drinks, and,
most important, blood plasma to combat shock and loss of
One of the greatest medical advances in the past twenty
years is the use of blood plasma in transfusions. Until a few
years ago a blood donor had to be matched with the person
receiving the blood. If the two did not agree in type, clots
were almost sure to form with fatal results. Now, however,
plasma is used. This is the amber-colored liquid that remains
after the red and white cells have been whirled out, as milk
and cream are separated in a dairy, or allowed to settle. The
water content of the plasma then is removed, and it is reduced
to a dry yellow powder. This powder can be preserved, in
vacuum, indefinitely and it can be restored to its natural state
simply by putting the water back through the addition of dis-
The use of plasma saves time, and time is all-important in
treating wounded men. No longer do we have to worry about
blood types, because the substances that cause clots when
blood types are mixed occur in the cells and not in the plasma.
Medicine Looks Ahead 231
Nor do we have to bring the soldier to the blood donor; the
transfusion can go to him, and halt shock before it can get
started. Officers say they have found that in bad burns it is
the plasma that is lost. By immediate transfusions the liquid
can be restored before death occurs. "You can see the impor-
tance of this at once when you realize that an overwhelming
percentage of the injuries incurred by the men in the armored
corps are burns," said Major Richard D. Mudd, head of the
department of Field Medicine and Surgery, Carlisle Barracks,
The sulfa drugs, which keep down infection, and blood
plasma, which fortifies a wounded man against the shock and
puts new life into his veins, are perfect team mates to protect
our fighting men now, and our working men and women in
Mobile X-Ray Unit
The battalion aid station, where the wounded man may
receive the first of several plasma transfusions, may be com-
pared with the emergency room in an ordinary hospital. It
provides swift, expert, lifesaving treatment and surgery. One
of its mobile units, to which many a soldier owes his life, is
the mobile X-ray machine. In the first World War these ma-
chines were huge, clumsy affairs, not easily moved. The pres-
ent battlefield X ray can go to the front with the soldier.
Built so compactly that it can be fitted into three small trucks,
it weighs only three hundred and ninety-nine pounds and can
be assembled in thirty minutes.
The soldier does not have to wait until he reaches a base
hospital before X-ray pictures can be taken of his injury. This
can be done an hour or so after the wound is received, and
treatment begun immediately. Besides taking X-ray pictures,
the machine also has a fluoroscopic screen through which
232 Miracles Ahead!
the physician can examine hidden injuries. It permits a physi-
cian to locate a bullet, shell fragments, bits of masonry, and
other foreign bodies within a minute after the wounded man
is placed under the machine.
The soldier usually remains at the battalion aid station a
day or less and then is taken by ambulance jeep, or other con-
veyance, back to the collecting station, which also is mobile
and can be brought up near the front lines. Here a complete
record of the injury is made, with recommendations of the
doctors who have examined and treated the soldier.
From the collecting stations the more seriously wounded
are evacuated to field hospitals or evacuation hospitals. These
are usually five to seven miles back of the battle line. But, as
they are highly mobile, they can be brought up to the front.
They travel on six wheels, can move rapidly over soft or
rough ground, and are ready for instant use. These units have
the most modern medical and surgical equipment and are
staffed by expert surgeons, including specialists for all kinds
of injuries. Compound fractures (in which bones are broken
and flesh also is torn) are cleaned, sprinkled with sulfa drugs,
and the leg or arm is then encased in plaster.
The "Closed Treatment" for Fractures
This revolutionary "closed treatment" of fractures was de-
veloped by two surgeons who did not like the old method of
dressing the wound draining it and constantly washing it
with antiseptics. The method worked but not often enough
to suit them. One of these surgeons was Winnett Orr, an
American. As a military surgeon with the American Army in
France during the first World War, Orr had the problem o
bringing home many men with compound fractures. He de-
cided to use plaster casts to protect them on the rough voyage
Medicine Looks Ahead 233
In cases where the fracture wound was healing, Orr en-
cased it in plaster. But in cases where the wound was still
infected, he made a plaster cast with a sort of window which
allowed him to dress the wound daily. When he got home and
began to take off the casts, Orr discovered something strange.
The closed casts, which should have caused trouble because
they didn't permit regular dressing of the wound, appeared
to have speeded the healing of the wounds. The legs and arms
encased in casts with windows for daily dressing and drainage
did not show much improvement.
Orr thought this all over and wrote a paper which sug-
gested that leaving the wound undisturbed, and letting nature
take its course, was more important than daily treatments.
No one paid much attention to the paper, but Orr began to
use his method and it worked better than any other. His
patients, and curious doctors, were annoyed by the overpow-
ering smell of the casts after a week or two. Surely the leg or
arm must be rotting away under the cast. But when Orr inves-
tigated he found that the wound was healing rapidly. It was
not, however, until Orr used his cast treatment successfully
on stubborn osteomyelitis cases (bone infections) that a num-
ber of surgeons began to follow his methods.
Several thousand miles away, in Spain, Jose Trueta, chief
surgeon of the General Hospital of Catalonia, was using Orr's
method. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, Trueta's
hospital served as a base hospital for the Spanish Republican
Army and he soon was busy on fracture cases from the front
lines and the bomb-shattered buildings of Barcelona. He cut
away the dead and dying tissue from hundreds of shattered
legs and arms, aligned the fragments of bone, cleaned the
wounds, packed them with gauze, and put them in plaster
casts. When the odor of the casts got too strong he took
them off, cleaned the already healing wounds, and put fresh
234 Miracles Ahead!
When the war ended, word of Trueta's remarkable suc-
cess spread far and wide. Trueta, who had fled to London,
gradually won the support of British surgeons, and when
World War II came they lost no time in adopting the Trueta-
Orr method. No one worried any more about the smelly casts.
Fractures make up about 60 per cent of all war injuries, and
those casts have worked with a death rate of less than one
The Base Hospital
Farthest back are the great general, or base, hospitals. These
are not mobile and are far removed from the battle area, some-
times several hundred miles. The general hospitals have one
thousand beds or more, and are the equal of the most elabo-
rate city hospitals. The men may remain here until they are
entirely cured and returned to duty, or they may be sent to
general and convalescent hospitals in the United States huge
well-equipped and well-staffed institutions maintained in vari-
ous parts of the country by the Army and Navy.
"Often the trip to the home hospital is made by ambulance
plane," states the OWI report on Recovery of American
Wounded. "There have been cases of men wounded on some
distant battlefield several thousand miles away reaching this
country faster than the report of their wounding; of a cheer-
ful 'Hi, Mom!' over long-distance telephone informing a
mother of her son's safe return.
"One soldier, with a severe abdominal wound, was brought
by ambulance from Egypt in 72 hours, and is now recovering
rapidly in an Army hospital. Others have been flown from
the Far East, Europe, India, Africa. The fact that a man
knows he can be home in a couple of days from almost any
part of the world is a tremendous morale-builder."
Pointing out that in this war there are no rigid and distinct
Medicine Looks Ahead 235
battle lines, the OWI says this requires that our medical-care
organization be ready to change on a moment's notice. That
is why our medical officers are trained to adapt themselves to
all conditions, and is the reason for our mobile hospital units.
Mobile Bacteriological Laboratory
Among the other mobile equipment are a bacteriological
laboratory, a miniature health department on wheels, which
tests water, food, and determines the nature of any disease
which may attack the troops; the traveling optical laboratory,
one of the newest and most interesting of the mobile units,
which can supply a soldier with new glasses in a few hours
after his are broken or lost; the mobile dental unit, with an
easily moved dental chair and all equipment necessary to care
for the teeth of our fighting men; mobile water purifiers,
which go with troops to foreign territory and purify all the
water drunk by our men regardless of any guarantee of its
Ambulance trains are used to transfer men from evacua-
tion points to base hospitals abroad. The first of these trains
was turned over to us by the British under Lend-Lease. These
trains have six ward cars, a car for sitting-up patients, a
pharmacy car and other cars for storing materials, as well as
operating rooms and special compartments for psychiatric
"Month after month of work, research and experiment have
gone into development of our Army and Navy medical equip-
ment," reports the OWI. "This has resulted in such inventions
as folding litters and folding leg and arm splints, which may
be packed in small spaces for use in battle areas; the jungle
kit, carried by men on duty in the tropics, containing appara-
tus for counteracting snakebite, various kinds of drugs from
aspirin to atabrin (for malaria), salt tablets to prevent heat
236 Miracles Ahead!
cramps, and a liquid which, spread on the skin, keeps insects
away; the arctic kit, for troops in northern countries, with
materials for the prevention and cure of freezing and frost
bite, and 'multi-vitamins/ to keep men strong and healthy
even on limited rations."
Since this war is being fought in many parts of the world,
doctors assigned to troops in these areas are skilled in keeping
men fit in extreme temperatures. Physicians assigned to tank
corps are expert in treating men subjected to terrific noise and
heat; doctors attached to submarine squadrons study reactions
to pressure; doctors specially trained in the effects of high
altitudes are assigned to aircraft units. If a doctor is assigned
to a ski-troop section, he must be able to handle skis himself.
If he is sent to a paratroop outfit, he must know how to use a
parachute. He jumps with his men and floats heavier pieces of
medical equipment down by separate parachute. Wherever
our men fight, they are never far from the best of medical
The Navy's Hospital Ships
The success of a certain hospital ship, says the OWI, is one
of the Navy's proudest achievements. During an extended
period beginning with the Solomon Islands offensive in Aug-
ust, 1942, this floating hospital cared for 4,039 patients
men wounded by bullets, shell fragments; men terribly
burned, lacerated. Among these 4,039 cases, only seven deaths
occurred a mortality rate of 0.18 per cent!
The Navy's hospital ships correspond to the mobile surgical
units that serve our land forces. These ships are staffed by
expert surgeons and doctors, and their equipment is the equal
of that in the best city hospital. They are used not only by
naval forces but by land forces. They may move in close to
land so that wounded men can be transferred to them from
Medicine Looks Ahead 237
field hospitals. Battleships and aircraft carriers have their own
hospital units, all complete. Smaller war vessels may depend
on the hospital ship.
Special boats are used by the Navy to rescue men from
sinking vessels or aircraft disasters over water. When an air-
craft goes down, fast rescue craft which skim along shallow
creeks to the scene bring survivors ashore at speeds of fifty
to sixty miles an hour.
In its report on care of the wounded, the OWI pointed out
that "it does not take into account other safeguards for the
well-being of service men; how we rehabilitate wounded men
in our great Army and Navy hospitals in this country, how
plastic surgery restores mutilated faces so perfectly that only
a physician can be certain any change from the original has
taken place; how paralyzed limbs are returned to full useful-
ness by massage, exercise, and treatment by special apparatus;
how a method replaces skin destroyed by burns, how therapy
brings back to normal minds which have not withstood the
shock of war, brings them back so completely that often they
are stronger than before their brief retreat."
The Magical Sulfa Drugs
Army and Navy doctors, and research workers in labora-
tories throughout the nation, are searching ceaselessly for new
weapons against infection and disease. We have reason to feel
that in the future the peacetime conquests of medicine will
save many more lives than the war takes.
In his book Behind the Sulfa Drugs: A Short History of
Chemotherapy, Dr. lago Galdston writes: 1
"The sulfonamide compounds have proved to be the great-
est achievement in therapy, with the competence to save more
1 Galdston, lago, Behind the Sulfa Drugs. New York, D. Appleton-
Century Co., Inc., 1943.
238 Miracles Ahead!
lives than any other group of agents employed in the treat-
ment of disease."
Dr. Paul Ehrlich, the German-Jewish genius, found that
germs absorbed coal-tar dyes and became visible under the
microscope. He hoped to discover a dye that would not only
color the germs but kill them. In 1910 Dr. Ehrlich perfected
the arsenical compound salvarsan ("606") the "magic bul-
let" that cures syphilis, and the first of the great modern
chemical agents for the war against disease.
Two years earlier, in 1908, P. Gelmo, a young student at
the University of Vienna, described the preparation of a coal-
tar compound, sulfanilamide, in a paper for his doctor's de-
gree. Little more is known of this trail blazer. A year later,
chemists of the I.G. Farbenindustrie, German dye trust, dis-
covered that sulfanilamide could be united with other chemi-
cals to make colors exceptionally fast. This dye combined
strongly with the proteins in wool and silk. Some scientists
ventured the opinion that sulfanilamide might have an equal
affinity for the proteins of parasites causing disease, but little
was done along this line for several years.
In 1935 Dr. Gerhard Domagk, a German pathologist, pub-
lished the results of experiments with prontosil, a brick-red
powder. Scientists in other countries soon discovered that
prontosil was a combination of sulfanilamide and a red dye,
and that sulfanilamide alone did the work.
"The British," writes David Dietz, Scripps-Howard science
editor, "gave the task of testing the new drug to one of their
most distinguished men, Dr. Leonard Colebrook of Queen
Charlotte's Hospital in London. He was the leading authority
on childbed fever, which sets in so frequently after childbirth
and until then had proved fatal in one out of every four
"In 1936 Dr. Colebrook treated 64 cases with the new drug
and saved the lives of 61 mothers. Sulfanilamide had cut the
Medicine Looks Ahead 239
mortality rate from 25 to less than 5 per cent. He made his
report in London that summer at the International Congress
of Microbiology. In the audience was Dr. Perrin Long of
Johns Hopkins Hospital, who hurried home to Baltimore and
began to try the drug, first on mice and then on men.
"America first became aware of sulfanilamide just before
the end of 1936, when Dr. Long was called in to use the new
drug on the son of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr.,
then a student at Harvard. Young Roosevelt had been taken
to a Boston hospital with a "strep" throat. From that time on
sulfanilamide and its derivatives have passed from one success
Sulfanilamide the "mother drug" proved successful in
the fighting of thirty different bacterial diseases. The list of
diseases that it will combat reads like the label on a patent-
medicine bottle, but, unlike the patent medicines, the sulfa
drug really worked. It did, however, have toxic effects on
patients nausea, dizziness, fever. So scientists analyzed sul-
fanilamide and sought to produce derivatives that would kill
germs and still not harm the body.
Sulfanilamide is a complex molecule of carbon, hydrogen,
nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur. By adding other molecules of
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and sulphur, chemists obtained the
various derivatives of sulfanilamide.
Sulf apyridine proved to be more effective than the "mother
drug" in fighting certain types of pneumonia and gonorrhea.
Its toxic effects were about equal to sulfanilamide, but since it
worked faster it could be used with less danger to the patient.
Sulfathiazole has been equally effective against most dis-
eases and is far less toxic than the other two drugs. Peritonitis,
the deadly infection resulting from a burst appendix, has lost
its terror because of sulfathiazole.
Sulfadiazine appears to be far less toxic than the others and
much more powerful as a germ killer. It can even be used to
240 Miracles Ahead!
clear up toxic conditions resulting from the use of the other
sulfa drugs. Sulfadiazine also is proving highly successful in
both military and civilian life as a treatment for burns. It can
be sprayed directly on the burns, and acts swiftly to relieve
the pain. The drug leaves a soft, flexible scar; speeds the
growth of new skin; and has none of the harmful properties
of tannic acid, a widely used treatment for burns.
Sulfaguanidine was developed specifically to fight diseases
of the intestinal tract, which the other four drugs don't attack
effectively. It is particularly useful in the treatment of bacil-
lary dysentery, a disease that has ravaged armies throughout
history. The drug clears up most cases within three to five
days, and the soldier does not need to be hospitalized.
Since the different germs pneumococcus, streptococcus,
staphylococcus, gonococcus, and others may produce a wide
variety of diseases, chemists are constantly seeking other sulfa
derivatives to combat them. 1 Sulfasuxidine, or succinyl-sulfa-
thiazole, has proved useful in clearing up infections of the gas-
trointestinal tract. But in May, 1943, there appeared a new
sulfa drug phthalyl-sulfathiazole which is expected to be a
more powerful weapon against intestinal infections, such as
dysentery, than any of its relatives. It has two to four times
the germ-checking power of sulfasuxidine. Doses by mouth
at four-hour intervals have produced no toxic symptoms in
dog or man.
Thousands of people are alive today because sulfa drugs
defended them against disease germs that would have proved
fatal a few years ago. In five years these wonder drugs have
cut the death rate in pneumonia almost two-thirds and in
appendicitis 35 per cent. Gas gangrene, which is caused by a
1 More than one thousand other sulfa derivatives are being studied today
by chemists. The latest sulfa derivative sulfamerazine has proved to be
even less toxic than sulfadiazine, which had been considered in most cases
the most powerful and the least toxic of these drugs.
Medicine Looks Ahead 241
bacillus and not by poison gases, no longer is a great menace
to the wounded soldier because of sulfa powder.
Meningitis, inflammation of the membranes that envelop
the brain and spinal cord, was one of the plagues of the first
World War. It may be caused by the meningococcus, the
tubercle bacillus, the pneumococcus, the streptococcus, or the
haemophilus influenzae. Meningitis due to the meningococcus
can be treated with serum and sulfanilamide. Deaths probably
could be cut to five per one hundred cases by a prompt use of
sulfanilamide and sulfapyridine. Meningitis due to strepto-
coccus and haemophilus influenzae is harder to combat. Sul-
fanilamide has pulled 65 per cent of the patients through the
first, and sulfadiazine and serum have changed the 100 per
cent mortality of the second to a 70 per cent recovery.
Gonorrhea, which afflicts an estimated twelve million or
more persons in the United States, is probably the most fre-
quent cause of sterility in both sexes and often leads to other
serious ailments. In terms of relative prevalence, gonorrhea is
four to eight times as common in the armed forces as syphilis
now being treated speedily by the new arsenic drug ma-
pharsen. Remarkable results have been achieved with sulf athia-
zole and other sulfa drugs in the treatment of gonorrhea. And
now the Army and Navy are conducting tests which indicate
that sulfathiazole prophylaxis will prevent gonorrhea. The
giving of sulfathiazole to men before and after exposure re-
duced the incidence of the disease in a test group to a yearly
level of 8 per thousand as compared with 171 per thousand in
the control group.
Commenting on the test, the Journal of the American
Medical Association said:
"It is our opinion that, under certain conditions and in a final
form yet to be developed, prophylactic sulfathiazole adminis-
tration would produce a remarkable gonorrhea decline in the
Army. Certain dangers are involved in administering the drug,
242 Miracles Ahead!
particularly on a large scale. In view of the magnitude of the
venereal disease problem and its effect on man days lost, we
believe the risks are justified."
Erysipelas, impetigo, scarlet fever, tonsilitis, and diseases of
the ear all are being routed by the sulfa drugs, and new
marvels of healing will be performed in the future by these
It appears that these drugs don't kill disease germs. Dr.
Galdston explains that they seem to do their work by making
it impossible for the particular bacteria to feed. The starved
bacteria cannot multiply for an all-out attack on the body,
so the body's armed forces its white blood cells and immune
bodies counterattack and kill off the bacteria. But all the
actions of the sulfa drugs have not been explained by scien-
tists, and more is being learned about them every day. This
knowledge will help doctors use the sulfa drugs in such a way
as to avoid toxic effects on patients, and speed up the germ-
fighting action of the drugs.
Penicillin Germ Destroyer
Although great strides have been made in the conquest of
disease by the use of sulfa drugs, a newcomer penicillin
is favored by many to win the germ-killing championship in
the near future. The Journal of the A.M.A. hails it as "far
superior to any of the sulfonamides" in the treating of in-
fected wounds and burns. Penicillin is an extract from a com-
mon mold, penicillium notatum, similar to the molds that
occur in cheese and bread. It was accidentally discovered in
1929 by Dr. Alexander Fleming, an English bacteriologist.
The mold contaminated some culture plates while he was
searching for an influenza-causing organism, and was ob-
served to check the growth of some other organisms. Broth
cultures of the mold were found to contain an antibacterial
substance, later named penicillin. The first work was not fol-
Medicine Looks Ahead 243
lowed up immediately, but in 1940 and 1941 a group of medi-
cal students at Oxford conducted careful experiments with
One of these men, Dr. H. W. Florey, visited the United
States in 1941 and interested Drs. R. D. Coghill and A. J.
Meyer of the United States Department of Agriculture in
launching experiments in the culture and purification of peni-
cillin. This work, at the Agriculture Department's laboratory
in Peoria, Illinois, proved invaluable in developing produc-
tion. A number of commercial drug houses Merck & Co.,
E. R. Squibb & Sons, Charles Pfizer & Co., and Lederle Labo-
ratories began manufacturing penicillin in 1943.
Penicillin is perhaps the most powerful bacteria-killing
agent known to man. It can destroy disease-producing germs
even when dissolved in 100,000,000 parts of water. Aside
from being more powerful than the sulfa drugs, penicillin has
given no toxic reactions even from the largest dosage. More
important, penicillin has been found highly effective against
the pus-causing bacteria (staphylococcus aureus) responsible
for pimples and boils, and also against such serious infections
as acute and chronic osteomyelitis, or bone infections; cellu-
litis, or inflammation of connective tissue; carbuncles of the
lip and face; empyema of the chest pus in the chest and a
type of pneumonia caused by this germ. On the other hand,
the sulfa drugs have proved of only limited value against
staphylococcus infections. In several cases penicillin quickly
cleared up such infections after the sulfa drugs had failed and
a fatal outcome seemed probable.
The first military tests of penicillin began in the summer of
1943 at the Bushnell General Hospital, Brigham City, Utah,
by order of Major General James C. Magee, Surgeon General
of the Army. The Committee on Medical Research of the
Office of Scientific Research and Development reported in the
Journal of the A.M. A. that results of the Army tests were "so
encouraging that plans are now in process for undertaking
244 Miracles Ahead!
similar wound studies in ten general Army hospitals." The use
of penicillin on venereal disease will be tested in six other mili-
The production of penicillin from mold, however, is a dif-
ficult and space-consuming operation, and until the problem
of large-scale production is solved the limited supply avail-
able will go almost entirely to the Army and Navy. A small
amount is being used in a series of controlled tests in twenty
Production problems were discussed by Dr. A. N. Richards,
chairman of the Committee on Medical Research.
"The difficulties which confront large-scale production,"
he said, "arise chiefly from the fact that in the metabolism of
the mold only very minute amounts of penicillin are formed,
and those only after days of growth.
"A yield of as much as one gram [about three-hundredths
of an ounce] of the purified product from 20 liters [a liter is
about a quart] of culture fluid would be regarded as excep-
tionally high." *
But if chemists are able to take penicillin apart and see what
it is made of they may be able to synthesize it in the labora-
tory. This would make available larger amounts of this valu-
able drug at low cost. Scientists have been working on this
problem for several years, and a recent article in the British
Journal of Experimental Pathology indicates that penicillin
may be a complex member of the very large coal-tar group of
compounds. Thus penicillin may eventually be synthesized
from coal-tar compounds.
1 A method that makes penicillin available to a much larger number of
civilian patients was reported in Science, official organ of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, by Dr. George H. Robinson
and Dr. James E. Wallace of the Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh,
Pa. The new method consists of applying gauze saturated with the living
green mold to the patients infection, thus allowing the mold to manufac-
ture its penicillin directly on the site of the infection.
Medicine Looks Ahead 245
"When the structure of penicillin becomes known," de-
clares Arthur D. Little, Inc., Chemists-Engineers, "research
on its production and use will undoubtedly proceed much
more rapidly and perhaps compounds will be found which
are structurally similar and equally active but easier to use.
It is indeed possible that a whole new class of chemothera-
peutic materials similar to penicillin will be opened up and
that penicillin will be overshadowed as sulfanilamide has been
by some of its derivatives."
Already a second and more potent germ-killing drug has
been discovered in the mold penicillium notatum. The new
derivative, called penatin, was reported by Dr. Walter
Kochalaty of the University of Pennsylvania. Penatin is more
powerful than penicillin, but also is active against disease
germs which are hardly affected by penicillin. Not one of
fifty disease-causing and nondisease-causing organisms could
resist penatin in dilutions of one to ten million parts and some-
times in dilutions of one to four hundred million.
Gramicidin New Microbe Killer
In 1940 Dr. Rene J. Dubos announced that he had ex-
tracted from a special strain of soil bacteria a chemical sub-
stance he named gramicidin, which had proved the most
powerful microbe killer until then known to man. Gramicidin
was found, however, to be highly toxic to animals as well as
to bacteria, and it had to take a back seat while penicillin
exhibited its miraculous germ-killing powers. Meanwhile Dr.
Wallace E. Herrell and Dr. Dorothy Heilman of the Mayo
Clinic sought to determine how gramicidin produced its toxic
effects on animals. They found that along with its powerful
germicidal action it also had the power to break down red
blood cells by the process known as hemolysis.
It was concluded, therefore, that the chemical could be used
safely in local applications where it was not necessary to put
246 Miracles Ahead!
it in the blood stream. Tests on animals proved this was the
case, and gramicidin also has been used effectively on sinus
infections, infections of the bladder, infected but not bleed-
ing wounds, ulcers, and empyema from pneumonia. Drs.
Charles H. Remmelkamp and Chester S. Keefer of the Massa-
chusetts Memorial Hospital, Boston, reported that sinus infec-
tions were cleared up within forty-eight hours. Severe blad-
der infections that the sulfa drugs did not affect were cured
within one week.
Streptothricin Another Microbe Killer
Working under the old adage that "the smallest bugs have
smaller bugs which live upon and bite them," Dr. Selman A.
Waksman, of Rutgers University, and Dr. H. Boyd Wood-
ruff, of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, have
found other germ-killing substances in a fungus which grows
rampant in the soil. They reported that one of these sub-
stances, Streptothricin, is so potent that a solution of one part
in one million would kill millions of the deadly streptococcus
germs. Nine or more of these germ killers have been isolated
and work is proceeding on them.
The chief difficulty in using them to fight disease has been
their extreme toxicity both to the germs and to animals. But
Streptothricin, closely related to gramicidin, is far less toxic
and is said to show very promising results for possible human
When Japanese forces swept through the Far East they got
control of 95 per cent of the world's quinine supply needed
to combat deadly malaria. But American chemists were able
Medicine Looks Ahead 247
to produce a good substitute, atabrin, because of work done
by Japan's ally, Germany. Atabrine was developed in the
1920*8 by I.G. Farbenindustrie. If administered in heavy doses
under medical supervision, atabrin will cure or check malaria.
Another chemical agent, plasmochin, kills the gametacytes,
the reproductive form of the malaria parasite. When the
anopheline mosquito bites a person infected with malaria it
sucks up the gametacytes, and then it spreads these deadly
parasites to all whom it bites.
"Health Bomb" for Mosquitoes
This is why it is important to drain and spray swamps. If
the mosquitoes are destroyed they cannot carry the gameta-
cytes from an infected person to a new victim. Naval officers
point out, however, that it is difficult for shock troops land-
ing under fire to fight malaria and the enemy simultaneously.
"You can't stop to dig ditches and put up screens while the
enemy bullets are whistling over your head on the beach,"
they add. When troops go into action in malarial country
they are protected with new types of insect repellent which
will keep mosquitoes away for several hours. The Army also
has developed a "health bomb" containing what is said to be
the most powerful insecticide yet developed. It is made from
sesame oil, freon, and pyrethrum, and is packed in six-inch
metal pressure containers.
With this device, soldiers can destroy every deadly insect
in barracks and dugouts in an amazingly short time. Cargo
and transport planes returning to America from malaria-
infested areas can be rid of disease-laden insects in flight long
before there is any danger of bringing these dangerous stow-
aways into the United States. The Army hopes these "bombs"
will reduce the casualty rate of past wars, in which disease has
248 Miracles Ahead!
carried off as many men as did bullets. One military authority
said the device may save more American lives than any other
single invention of the war to date.
Colonel George F. Spann predicted that the new insecti-
cide, which was developed by a Department of Agriculture
chemist, would prove equally popular with civilians after the
war. "It can fumigate a house in a few minutes or annihilate
the crawling, buzzing 'gremlins' that take the joy out of fish-
ing, hunting, camping or picnicking," he declared.
Waging War on Epidemic Diseases
Finally Army doctors reported in May, 1943, that they had
developed a new treatment for malaria that gave promise of
"amazing" results. It was said to allow the victim to recover
strength and weight rapidly, and to end the recurrent chills and
fever caused by malaria. That was all they would say about
the treatment at that time. It should prove to be worth its
weight in gold in postwar years. Throughout the world eight
hundred million people suffer from malaria every year, and
three million of them die.
In his book Plague on Us, 1 Geddes Smith writes that "the
great urban cholera and typhoid epidemics of the ipth cen-
tury were a logical consequence of practices that no well-
bred housecat would countenance."
He quotes the description of one city's water supply given
by a health officer:
"The appearance and quality of the public water supply
were such that the poor used it for soup, the middle class dyed
their clothes in it and the very rich used it for top-dressing
their lawns. Those who drank it filtered it through a ladder,
disinfected it with chloride of lime, then lifted out the danger-
1 Smith, Geddes, Plague on Us. New York, The Commonwealth Fund,
Medicine Looks Ahead 249
ous germs, which survived, and killed them with a club in the
After Pasteur and Koch discovered the first disease germs,
progress was made in teaching people the importance of a
pure water supply. England and Germany led the way in
water purification and in the early 1900*5 American cities
finally began to follow suit. Today people fully realize the
dangers of typhoid and know that a system of purifying the
water and treating the sewage is vital in preventing an epi-
In war-torn areas where the water supply and sewage sys-
tems of cities have been destroyed, the typhoid fever menace
is ever present. In all wars prior to the first World War ty-
phoid generally proved more deadly than shot and shell. The
use of typhoid vaccine checked this disease in the first World
War and has proved highly effective since then. The vaccine
consists of dead typhoid germs. The injection of these germs
causes the formation in a person's blood of so-called antibod-
ies, which protect the individual against the live germs.
Our fighting men are guarded against typhoid, yellow fever,
and several other diseases by "shots in the arm." Sanitary
methods of sewage disposal, water purifiers, and great care in
the preparation of food also protect the men in our armed
services against dysentery and other diseases.
The Ammo Acids Promote Health and Beauty
Your hair, nails, skin, soft tissues, and many vital secre-
tions of your body are composed mainly of protein. And
these proteins are made up of smaller "building blocks" called
amino acids. Twenty-three of these acids are known today.
Scientists believe these acids play an important role in many
ailments. Experiments with animals have proved that the lack
of one amino acid, tryptophane, causes animals to get bald
250 Miracles Ahead!
and prevents them from having offspring. Purified amino acids
have recently become available for experiment and scientists
believe they deserve more attention as factors in the promo-
tion of good health and vigor.
Nature's Most Powerful Vitamin
The synthesis of biotin, nature's most powerful vitamin and
one of the rarest and costliest substances, promises to open up
many new fields. The synthesis is considered one of the great-
est achievements in modern chemistry and was accomplished
at the research laboratories of Merck & Co., Rahway, New
Jersey, by Dr. Stanton A. Harris, Dr. Donald E. Wolf, Dr.
Ralph Mozingo, and Dr. Karl Folkers.
This supervitamin is a member of the family of B vitamins,
which include several whose names are very well known to
the general public: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin. The world's
entire supply of biotin, so far extracted largely from liver,
amounts to about one-tenth of an ounce. It was so costly and
rare that only minute amounts were available to research
workers, who paid for it at the rate of four million dollars an
In 1936 Professor Fritz Koegel and Dr. B. Toennis of
Utrecht, Holland, succeeded in extracting i.i milligrams of
the pure substance. They got this infinitesimal amount from
five hundred and fifty pounds of dried yolks of duck eggs
imported from China. It was so potent that one part in five
hundred billion could still function as a growth-promoting
factor for yeast. One gram dissolved in twenty-five million
gallons of water would be strong enough for the life needs
Yeast and bacteria need this supervitamin. And so do all
higher forms of life, including man. The bacteria that make
the nitrogen in the air available to plants also cannot live with-
Medicine Looks Ahead 251
out biotin, which means that without biotin no life could have
arisen on earth.
Biotin is found in the yolk of all eggs. In order to check
biotin's enormous growth-promoting powers, nature has pro-
vided a brake in the form of an antibiotin substance, named
avidin, in the egg white. The synthesis of biotin now prom-
ises to shed light on the structure of avidin, its counterpart in
the "balance wheel of life." When biotin is made available in
large amounts it is hoped that it will provide important clues
for new weapons not only against cancer but also against
tuberculosis, since no bacteria have so far been found that can
exist without biotin.
A Clue to Cancer
Medical men have improved the methods of diagnosis and
of early operation so that a good many cancer patients can be
saved. But cancer remains the most terrible of all diseases. At
the present rate, one of every eight individuals now living will
die of cancer. No one knows what goes wrong in cells, and
particularly in their growth processes, so that one or a few
run wild and multiply beyond reason.
Not only has biotin been found to stimulate normal growth
but, under certain conditions not yet fully known, it has been
found to stimulate abnormal growth, such as the uncontrolled
growth of cancer cells. This does not mean that biotin would
cause cancer. It does mean, however, that if the unknown
conditions causing cancer exist the presence of biotin would
stimulate development of the process.
Professor Ira I. Kaplan of the New York University Col-
lege of Medicine, and director of the Cancer Division of
Bellevue Hospital, is carrying out tests which seek to control
cancer by the administration of large daily doses of dried raw
egg white. It is hoped that avidin, the antibiotin substance in
252 Miracles Ahead!
egg white, will deprive a patient's tissues of biotin and thus
check the cancer process. The results so far have been de-
scribed as indicating the advisability of further tests.
Research Work on the Common Cold
The so-called common cold and the "flu" are the source of
more lowered physical efficiency and greater economic loss
than any other illnesses. During the winter of 1941 an
average of fifty million people suffered from colds, and twenty
million were affected by the flu, according to a survey by the
American Institute of Public Opinion. The common cold
frequently paves the way for many kinds of secondary infec-
tions that are often serious. A minor epidemic of influenza
occurs in the United States every other year. The last major
epidemic, which swept the world in 1918, resulted in millions
The germs which cause colds have never been identified.
They are presumed to be filterable viruses (so small they can
pass through the pores of very fine filters). Not even the
electron microscope has been able to spot a cold germ,
although it discovered the virus of influenza a protein smaller
than some molecules. We have assumed that colds are con-
tagious, but recent experiments indicate that this may be in-
Dr. William J. Kerr and his associates at the University of
California Medical School placed healthy volunteers who
catch cold easily in a room where the temperature and humid-
ity are controlled. Then they were exposed to people who
were suffering from colds. These people lived together for
days and drank out of the same drinking glasses. Not one of
the thirty without colds caught the symptoms from those who
had them. This experiment indicates that abrupt weather
changes, overheating, and exposure to drafts have more to do
Medicine Looks Ahead 253
with the spread of cold than a cough or a sneeze. On the
other hand, if the bacteria or virus of the cold is air-borne, the
use of germicidal lamps should reduce the danger of infec-
Influenza has been proved to be a virus disease, and Type A,
B, and a probable Type Y have been distinguished. A virus
vaccine has been administered at the University of California
with fairly good results. Science believes that better vaccines
will be developed in the future.
Blood Plasma for Civilian Use
Wartime advances in the use of blood plasma and the de-
velopment of blood banks are proving of great aid in the
treatment of patients. Big hospitals have banks of plasma and
of whole blood completely tested and ready for immediate
use. Of course, the small hospitals are not so well supplied.
But these small institutions in New York City are being aided
today by the Blood and Plasma Exchange Bank, which was
established by the Medical Society of the County of New
"Whole blood, plasma (the pale, straw-colored liquid in
which the red cells float), or dried plasma now become as
negotiable as checks," explains Waldemar Kaempffert, science
editor of the New York Times. "The cost of transfusions is
reduced; time is saved; the poor can receive blood products
"The Blood and Plasma Exchange Bank is particularly com-
petent to benefit small hospitals and tie them to the big hos-
pitals which always have a surplus of blood. Suppose, for
example, that a transfusion is called for by a physician. Mem-
bers of the patient's family offer their blood. If it matches
that of the patient and is acceptable there is no difficulty.
But suppose it does not match, though it is good blood.
254 Miracles Ahead!
Formerly the donors were rejected. Now two people whose
blood is of no value to the patient can go to the Blood and
Plasma Exchange Bank. Each gives a pint of blood. One pint
of blood suitable for the patient is then sent from the Exchange
to the hospital in return for the donated two pints. If only
one donor gives blood to the exchange bank, $10.00 is
charged. If the patient prefers not to send donors but to pay
for the blood, the cost is $20.00, or about one-half of what
was formerly charged. Thus, a large hospital with blood bank
(called a supplying hospital) is interlaced with the hospitals
without banks (called requisitioning hospitals) . What we have
is an efficient system of trading blood.
"The next step," he adds, "is to extend this plan to coun-
ties that border New York. After that a national organization
is envisioned with blood and plasma exchanges all over the
country. Lastly, there is the prospect that blood will be given
by generous donors not only for war but for peace; for when
transfusions can be carried out anywhere at low cost the
demand for blood is bound to rise."
Another important development is the use of red cells
obtained from blood collected at blood banks. In the past the
hospitals and Red Cross stations processing the blood have
thrown the red cells away. All they wanted was the plasma;
therefore about half the blood was wasted. Now, however,
the red cells are being used for wounds, infected burns, and
ulcers which did not react to the usual treatment.
Progress also is being made in the development of a possible
substitute or supplement for blood plasma in case of short-
ages of plasma. The substitute is obtained from either beef-
blood plasma or casein, the chief protein of milk. Such solu-
tions have shown themselves as good as blood plasma for the
treatment of animals suffering from shock due to repeated
hemorrhage. Solutions made from pure crystals of all the
essential amino acids also were beneficial.
Medicine Looks Ahead 255
Transplanting Vital Organs
In the field of surgery Ralph W. Gerard, Department of
Physiology, University of Chicago, looks forward to the day
when it will be possible to replace entirely an injured kidney,
or other organ, by transplanting into the body a healthy one.
"So far," he says, "such organ transplantation has been
achieved only in so simple a case as the transparent front of
the eye, but there is no reason now for supposing that the
successful transplantation of complex organs will not one day
be possible." *
A Cure for Deafness
Drs. Valdes and Schulhof of Mexico have devised a new
method of curing deafness which they believe can cure 60
per cent of all the cases in the United States and Mexico. The
method consists of a plastic reconstruction of the middle and
inner ear, and it has worked successfully on scores of peo-
ple. The affected parts of the ear, which have been destroyed
by sickness or accident, are totally removed. Plastic substi-
tutes, made of "materials" from the patient's own body, are
put in their place. These operations are performed at the Pub-
lic Welfare Building, but their success has become so wide-
spread that rich as well as poor are now flocking to the clinic
of Drs. Valdes and Schulhof.
1 The New York Times, November 7, 1943, reported on a motion-picture
demonstration in New York City of pioneer experiments in the Soviet Insti-
tute of Experimental Biology at Moscow in which animals that had been
dead as long as fifteen minutes were restored to life. The revival of dead
animals is achieved by a new apparatus, known as the "autoejector." Profes-
sor J. B. S. Haldane, British scientist who made the sound-track commentary
explained that the autoejector "carries out the functions of the heart and
lungs." Biologists hailed the experiments as promising a new epoch in medi-
cal science, "bringing closer the day when operations now incompatible with
life will be possible. These may include repair to a damaged heart or brain
and the restoration of persons who died of shock and hemorrhage," the
256 Miracles Ahead!
Plastic materials from the chemists' laboratory are used in-
creasingly by surgeons. In cases where injuries have destroyed
the hard cartilage that lines the socket of the hip joint, the
transparent plastic known as Lucite, or methyl methacrylate
resin, serves perfectly. It has also been used to recondition
arthritic knuckle joints and jaws. The loss of Japanese silk,
needed for sutures to sew wounds, has been made up by
nylon, which was introduced on a wide scale in surgery in
A Treatment for Hypertension
Delicate nerve operations, in which the surgeon partially
severs a nerve, have cured several painful and deadly dis-
eases. The neurosurgeon also can frequently clear up hyper-
tension, in which blood vessels tighten dangerously and the
blood pressure soars. Hypertension long has outranked cancer
and tuberculosis as a cause of death, particularly among
middle-aged persons. Heparin (from ox lungs) and dicoumarin
(found in diseased clover) act to slow up the clotting of
blood, thereby permitting surgeons to operate successfully on
clotted blood vessels even in certain forms which formerly
caused death in over 85 per cent of all cases.
Great progress has been made in the use of regional anes-
thesia in place of the "general," which puts you to sleep. One
method consists of the continuous injection near the base of
the spine of the pain-killing chemical metycaine, which tempo-
rarily blocks the nerve pathways for pain in the lower part of
the body. It has been successfully used in operations for
femoral and inguinal hernia, Caesarean delivery of a baby, set-
Medicine Looks Ahead 257
ting of broken bones, amputations, and surgical treatment of
New instruments, such as an electronic device which gives
an electric signal when it detects metal fragments buried in
the tissue, and the "radio knife," an electrosurgical apparatus
used in brain surgery which seals off tiny blood vessels as they
are cut, permit the surgeon to work new wonders every day.
The electron microscope, which is fifty to one hundred
times more powerful than the strongest optical microscope,
will permit the scientist to learn more about the functions of
the cells in the body, to view deadly types of virus and plan
new ways to attack them. Radioactive atoms, which give off
the same rays as radium, can be traced through the body. Just
as the gunner uses tracer bullets to check his aim, the bio-
chemist can use these tracer atoms to reveal the functions of
the body. These new techniques and machines will, accord-
ing to Professor Gerard, enable scientists to "prepare delib-
erately drugs and other substances which can modify cell
growth, drugs which specifically hold in check or destroy
disease bacteria, including perhaps the tuberculosis germ, as
the sulfa drugs and gramicidin already do for many."
Shortly after the Russian Revolution a Soviet professor
named Gurwich discovered that onion roots "broadcast" an
absolutely new form of electromagnetic wave. Other scien-
tists checked Dr. Gurwich's discovery and also picked up
onion "broadcasts." Because the waves are produced when-
ever living cells are dividing and growing, they were called
258 Miracles Ahead!
"mitogenetic rays" or M rays. Later Gurwich "tuned in"
waves coming from the human body, and other scientists
proved that the rays are sent out from every tissue where the
vital process of metabolism goes on.
Since different M rays are produced when different changes
take place in a living cell, scientists will be able to follow cell
changes without disturbing the plant or animal. The blood is
constantly giving out M rays and recent experiments showed
that these rays are affected not only by drugs but also by the
age of the patient, his or her sex, state of health, hunger, sleep,
or agitation. M rays get weaker as a man gets tired from phys-
ical work. After he rests, the blood starts "broadcasting"
again. But prolonged work, which causes serious fatigue,
keeps the M rays quiet several hours. Here is an absolutely
accurate method of measuring fatigue.
Further medical advances will greatly increase life expec-
tancy and more of us will remain healthy for a longer time.
In 1850 only 2.5 per cent of the population was sixty-five and
over. In 1930 about 5.5 per cent were in that category, and
in 1980 about 14.5 per cent should be sixty-five or over.
These figures indicate why geriatrics (the indirect treatment
of the diseases of old age) and gerontology (the study of
senility) will be increasingly important. In an article in The
Medical World, Dr. Harry Benjamin contends that these two
branches of medicine must be supplemented by a third
gerontotherapy the direct treatment of the aging process.
According to Dr. Benjamin the function of gerontother-
apy would be to stave off old age and thus add to the years of
useful life. Thus it must start early. During childhood and
youth it would be preventive. After the fiftieth or sixtieth
year it would use direct treatment. Prevention, he explains,
Medicine Looks Ahead 259
calls for a proper mode of living, which means that faulty diet
must be corrected and excesses of work and play avoided.
The direct treatment of old age, he says, calls for the specific
use of vitamins and hormones to aid deficient organs. The
hormones are "chemical messengers" which mysteriously reg-
ulate the functioning of our bodies and minds.
Air Age Problems
"No place on earth will be more than 48 hours from your
local airport" in the postwar world. This statement sums up
the tremendous distance-annihilating achievement of the air-
plane. But it also tells public-health authorities to prepare for
trouble. Because of air transport, dangerous diseases in a far-
away part of the world can be carried to the United States
overnight. At this moment four hundred uniformed quaran-
tine officers and sanitary inspectors of the Public Health Serv-
ice are standing guard at airports where planes from overseas
come in. They see to it that planes, which already have been
sprayed with a chemical lethal to mosquitoes, are sprayed
again. Passengers are given medical examinations. Those with
malaria are permitted to enter the country but they must go
straight to hospitals and stay there until they are no longer
sources of infection.
"Unbelievably rapid air transportation makes the problem
of disease control of transcending importance," writes Hiram
Blauvelt in the New York Herald Tribune, "and with the
war's end it will be further aggravated when thousands of
soldiers swarm back into the United States ideal 'carriers'
for every type of tropical disease and rare malady heretofore
alien to this country.
"Immunization will go a long way towards protecting the
populations of the world, whether at home or traveling, from
many of the dread diseases. But the real solution will come,"
260 Miracles Ahead!
he contends, "only when the nations of the world join in an
international effort to eradicate disease at its source. And the
airplane, now serving as the most destructive weapon of all
time, may well some day be credited with being the greatest
instrument for post-war happiness. It will be that when the
peoples of the world, realizing the dangers of its capabilities
in spreading disease, join forces to insure freedom from pesti-
lence for all."
MORE MIRACLES AHEAD
So MUCH FOR the miracles ahead in the world which is just
around the corner. What of the world which may not be
just around the corner, but over the next range of mountains?
These miracles farther ahead may sound fantastic to us
now. But the most youthful of us can remember when many
of the actualities of today were the fantastic "what if's" of
Dr. Charles M. A. Stine of Du Pont reminds us that "already
our world of 1940, in which we took such pardonable if mis-
taken pride, is so distant in the past that it has become an
antiquity, as seen through scientific eyes."
The impossibilities of the days immediately before Pearl
Harbor have become today's realities. In this war we have
done a great many things that we couldn't do. So the last two
years have brought tremendous changes. And the first two
years after the war may bring even more fantastic changes.
Those things may be beyond our comprehension now; they
may be beyond the reach of our scientists at the moment. But
Browning, in his "Andrea del Sarto," voiced the most charac-
teristic slogan of the research scientist:
... a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?
The day may come when we can use the atomic energy in
a lump of coal to run a factory for a week. Our electric
power today is gained by tearing loose some of the more-
262 Miracles Ahead!
amenable electrons from the atom. Of course, the more ame-
nable the electron is about leaving the atom, the less energetic
it is about going back again. Developments in cosmic rays and
atom smashing were checked by the war, but scientists are
learning to dissociate the less-amenable portions of the atom.
When they finish this work we will have a source of energy
that is without parallel today. For instance, the atoms in one
pound of uranium, a very heavy metal, contain as much
power as millions of pounds of coal.
The Amazing Cyclotron
The cyclotron, known as the "atom smasher," gives scien-
tists an important tool for releasing the enormous power of
the uranium atoms. A sufficiently powerful cyclotron bom-
bardment, in which neutrons bombard the uranium atoms,
would release 175,000,000 volts of energy. Scientists don't set
any date when atomic energy will be ours to use for indus-
trial purposes. It could be here in a year or two, or many
years. When it does come all of our needs can be taken care
of with a fraction of the labor now required.
In past ages the alchemists spent their lives trying to turn
base metals into gold. Rutherford, in recent years, proved that
this transmutation of matter was not beyond our power. He
changed nitrogen to hydrogen by tearing electrons away from
the atom of nitrogen by bombardment, and did the same thing
with several other elements. Today our power to transform
the elements has been greatly enhanced by the cyclotron. It
can rearrange the atom's structure and change it into some-
thing else. A stream of electrons is used to knock loose the
nuclei, or "deuterons," from atoms of hydrogen. Then these
deuterons strike with terrific speed at the object that is to be
bombarded. This bombardment changes the arrangement of
More Miracles Ahead 263
"When the bombardment takes place," wrote Bruce Bliven
in the New Republic, June 16, 1941, "almost unbelievable
changes are created in the substance exposed to the deuterons.
Iron has some of its atoms changed into those of cobalt or
manganese. Others remain iron, but with a wonderful new
quality of radioactivity. That is, the iron takes on temporarily
the qualities of radium itself, giving off radium's powerful
and penetrating rays.
"The cyclotron-made 'synthetic radium' can, moreover, be
employed in tremendously important ways not open to
natural radium. For the marvelous fact is that, except for giv-
ing off rays, a radioactive element acts precisely like the same
element found in nature. When radioactive calcium, for ex-
ample, is fed to a patient, it accumulates in his system just
where normal calcium does.
"This is of such importance to medicine that informed
physicians say the cyclotron is the most wonderful medical
tool since the microscope. For some chemicals naturally settle
in certain parts of the body. If you were to drink a solution of
iodine (don't try it with the highly poisonous variety in your
medicine cabinet) the concentration in your thyroid gland
would be 5,000 times greater than in your other tissues. In
experiments on animals drastic changes in the thyroid gland
have been effected with radioactive iodine taken by mouth
without harm to the other tissues.
"This technique has amazing possibilities. There is, for
instance, a disease of the blood cells which causes them to
reproduce abnormally; its most serious form is usually fatal.
Radioactive phosphorus has been found to concentrate in the
affected portions of the body, and after receiving treatment,
victims have lived for substantial periods."
Scientists also will be able to create many new metals and
other substances for use by industry. Instead of using chemi-
264 Miracles Ahead!
cal processes they will synthesize materials by designing the
right kind of atom and making it in their laboratories.
The electrons that make radio broadcasting possible will
help the chemist. They will serve as catalysts, speeding up
chemical reactions by electronic bombardment of molecules.
This new science of "chemotronics" promises to knock the
"im" out of impossible and produce a lot of "chemical silk
purses" out of sows' ears.
Harnessing the Sun's Rays
Lifting our eyes toward the source of power, we now give
attention to man's old dream of harnessing sunlight. We have
used the sun's rays to generate steam. And we have made
considerable progress using the solar energy stored up in coal
and oil, as well as that from the wind and falling water.
"Up to the present, however," declared James F. Hunt of
Du Pont, "a mule which eats hay and corn and converts these
materials into the energy necessary to draw a wagon or a
plough is the best solar engine yet devised. One of these days,
however, some bright fellow may hit upon a really good way
to harness sunlight directly, and his fortune will be assured.
That is what you might call hitching your wagon to a star
in a big way! "
Several "bright fellows" are working on this problem and
getting somewhere. The photovoltaic cell, which in one form
is composed of iron coated with selenium and gold, produces
electricity from light rays. A number of these cells will gen-
erate enough electricity to run a small electric motor.
"Perhaps the day will come," said James Stokley in Science
Remakes Our World, "when sun-drenched desert areas of
earth will be covered with such cells, turning light into elec-
tricity for the use of the world."
More Miracles Ahead 265
We have long known that "heat" can be generated by put-
ting two antagonistic personalities side by side at the dinner
table. The scientist can generate electric power by putting
two dissimilar metals together. Seeback demonstrated in 1821
that an electric current was produced when an iron and a cop-
per wire were twisted together and heated. This is called a
thermocouple. Iron and copper produce very small amounts
of electricity, but recently scientists have found alloys whose
dissimilarities turn out larger amounts of electric power. The
sun's rays can be used to heat these thermocouples. Or you
might use coal or oil to heat huge thermocouples and produce
electricity. If this "impossible" (?) method is perfected, the
roundabout way of using coal or oil to produce steam, and
steam to generate electric power, will be abolished.
Two antagonistic people may cause the temperature to drop
as they exchange "frigid" stares. The thermocouple can do
this too. If an electric current is passed through a thermo-
couple, a refrigerating effect is produced.
Raymond F. Yates declared in his 2,100 Needed Inven-
"If an inventor could apply this effect, discovered by Pel-
tier in 1834, he could evolve an electric refrigerator that
would not have one moving part, no gas, no compressors, or
electric motors. Not only that, but such a refrigerator would
cost one-third of present ice boxes and operate at three times
the efficiency. . . . There is a million dollars in it for the
man who can turn the trick."
And we can rest assured that there are men who will bet
they can do it.
Revolutionary advances in industry may also be brought
about if scientists lick the problem of transmitting cheap elec-
tric power by radio. This would mean that manufacturing
1 Yates, Raymond, 2,100 Needed Inventions. New York, Wilfred Funk,
266 Miracles Ahead!
plants could go to out-of-the-way places where valuable raw
materials were located, instead of being tethered to the source
of power to run the machinery. Fantastic? Perhaps. "I don't
know whether we can ever learn to do this," said Charles F.
Kettering of General Motors. "But," he added, "all the power
we have here on earth came that way by radio waves from
Electricity as Cheap as Water
Scientists believe that further advances in the generation
and transmission of electric power will greatly reduce its
cost. The late Dr. Charles P. Steinmetz went so far as to say
twenty-five years ago that electricity would someday be so
cheap that it would not pay to read meters.
"Consider what it means," wrote Waldemar KaempfTert,
science editor of the New York Times, "if electricity be-
comes something that municipalities will furnish to manufac-
turers and house builders as they now furnish water. Air
conditioning, a flowering new industry, has been held back
because of the cost of electricity.
"When energy is reduced in price to the level that Stein-
metz had in mind a city will be glassed over and maintained
at a constant temperature and humidity the year round. Every
country house will have its uniform indoor climate, manufac-
tured at a cost less than that which we now pay for electric
lighting. If Steinmetz's prediction is fulfilled and he was one
of the most distinguished electrical engineers of his time
even Broadway at its brightest will seem dim. We may not be
able to duplicate sunlight in intensity, but we shall come close
enough to it."
Two other predictions of "things to come" fit in here. ,
William F. Ogburn, Department of Sociology, University of
Chicago, points out that better and cheaper air conditioning
More Miracles Ahead 267
will tend to make civilization move southward. Areas rich
in raw materials, which have been held back by unfavorable
climate, will be developed rapidly when air conditioning
takes a hand.
The other prediction concerns lighting. Today fluorescent
lighting, which gives us more light with less heat and lower
electricity bills, is a long step ahead of incandescent light.
But Raymond F. Yates reported in 2,100 Needed Inventions
on another efficient source of illumination, which has not yet
been made commercially available. This light, he explained,
is formed by placing two electrodes in an electrolyte of alu-
minum citrate. The one electrode is of either carbon or lead,
while the other is of aluminum.
"If the aluminum electrode is connected to the positive ter-
minal of a variable direct current supply, a bright glow and
finally a brilliant series of sparkling spots will be developed
on the surface of the electrode as the voltage is raised by
means of a potentiometer," he added.
Agricultural Yields Tripled
There will be a lot of changes made on the farm of the
more distant future. Cheap electricity will mean that plowing
and reaping will be carried on by electric power rather than
by gasoline, and the growing of crops could be speeded up
tremendously by heating the soil. The bombardment of seeds
with X rays will juggle their chromosomes around and pro-
duce many new plants. General Electric scientists already
have obtained improved flower specimens by bombarding
seeds and seedlings with million-volt X rays.
In its Chemical Industry Survey the investment firm of
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Beane announced:
"The farms of the future may be large green houses with
roofs of plastics or new types of glass through which the
268 Miracles Ahead!
ultra-violet rays of the sun will pour unhindered. Under care-
fully controlled temperatures and through the use of highly
concentrated chemically created fertilizing agents, these farms
of the future may deliver 12 crops per year; may produce
much higher yields per crop. And the chemical industry, by
reason of its ever broadening demand for farm products as
raw materials may well provide a permanent and economi-
cally sound solution to the recurring problem of surplus crops
that plagued the American farmer in the years before the
Ships without Crews
If Steinmetz's prediction of dirt-cheap electricity comes
true, the railroad will receive a boost that will permit it to
compete more strongly with the auto and airplane.
"Cheap electricity will transform the railway," wrote Wal-
demar Kaempifert. "Our individualistically operated locomo-
tives will give way to electric locomotives that derive their
energy from one of fifty or a hundred enormous central sta-
tions erected at strategic points."
The day may also come when the crew on the flagship will
sail all the ships of a fleet. The late Nikola Tesla, great scien-
tific genius, contended a few years ago that radiodynamic
control would make it possible for us to send crewless ships
across the ocean.
Getting back home, consider the fact that you may some-
day dump the contents of a can of beans into the saucepan
and then chop up the can and toss it in, too. If it were a corn-
flavored can we would have a tasty bowl of succotash. Presi-
dent Willard H. Dow of the Dow Chemical Company re-
More Miracles Ahead 269
marks that we have synthetic sausage casings and tasty ice-
cream cones, which we don't toss away. "Why stop there?"
Remarking that the possibilities of President Dow's plan
are "gargantuan in scope," the Christian Science Monitor
declared that "citizens ought to do some thinking on the
problem. . . .
"Perhaps you would prefer to contemplate an edible can of
whipped cream flavor to go with preserved strawberries. One
could then chop a can to pieces in the salad bowl and use the
contents on home-made biscuits. The union of rhubarb and
cream appeals as a happy possibility. And a tomato ketchup
flavored container to surround canned baked beans should
appeal to a wide public. The whole field needs thorough
When we don't feel like cooking even a delicious-flavored
can, we will turn over and go back to sleep when the milkman
delivers our milk at 6:00 A.M. No need to worry about getting
breakfast. The foodman will deliver it at 8:00 A.M. Better
Homes and Gardens for May, 1943, explains that the new
war-food packages have started companies to thinking along
the above line. Food for paratroopers is sealed under high
vacuum in bags of laminated plastic and paper. The packages
are hard as wooden boxes and can be thrown to the floor
without denting. Food in packages similar to this will keep
hot for hours, or even a day, after cooking. Thus food-utility
companies could deliver a day's supply of meals, which would
stay piping hot until you wanted to eat.
In the not- too-distant future the housewife will be enjoy-
ing the speed, economy, and convenience of electronic cook-
ing. You can put a roast in the oven when you sit down to the
dinner, and it will be ready to serve when you have finished
your soup. Because this method generates heat from the inside
at the same rate as from the outside, food can be cooked
270 Miracles Ahead!
through with no danger of burning. Bread can be baked with-
out a crust, and a large piece of meat can be roasted as quickly
as a small one. Since the heat is concentrated in the food, roast-
ers and pans stay comparatively cool and the danger of burns
This matter of food brings up the subject of teeth, and
teeth bring up the point that you may not have to worry
about going to a dentist in the future world of miracles.
Research has established the fact that fluorine tends to pre-
vent tooth decay. It would be possible to add the small
amount required to the city's drinking-water supply.
The Vortex Gun
Are you smoking a cigarette now? Did you just blow a
smoke ring? These questions serve to introduce a strange
device called the vortex gun, which has aroused the interest
of military men today and will amaze you by its feats in the
The vortex gun consists of a metal drum with a round open-
ing on one side and a rubber diaphragm on the other. Demon-
strating this device, Dr. Phillips Thomas, research engineer
of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company,
sighted it at a row of candles about ten feet away, and then
tapped the back of the drum with a rubber hammer. One of
the candles was snuffed out instantly. He pointed the "gun"
at a gong, and tapped the drum. The gong rang.
"These seemingly miraculous feats were accomplished by
an invisible ring of air, a smoke ring without smoke, shot from
the aperture by the force with which Dr. Thomas struck
the back of the drum," explained Popular Science, August,
1942. Designed on the basis of elaborate mathematical cal-
culations by Westinghouse scientists, this device embodies
the first practical application of the well-known principle of
More Miracles Ahead 271
vortex (violently circling) motion. ... A smoke ring, which
is a true vortex ring, will move in any direction according to
the initial impulse, and owing to the vortex motion the smoke
will remain in the ring as long as it is moving. The more rapid
the motion the farther the ring will go before breaking up.
"The rings or miniature whirlwinds shot from the vortex
gun conform to the behavior pattern of the smoke ring as
blown from the mouth. Their size and velocity, and the dis-
tance traveled, depend upon the dimensions of the gun and
the force with which it is struck. They are always invisible
unless smoke or some other visible substance is put in the
A small vortex gun about eight inches in diameter shoots a
ring with a diameter of two to three inches. The ring travels
around twenty feet a second and its impact can be felt at
twenty-five feet. Another gun, which is about six and one-
half feet in diameter, shoots an eighteen-inch ring at a speed
of ninety miles an hour. It will snuff out candles at sixty to
seventy feet, and at closer range it will upset a man if he is
not prepared for the blow.
Engineers are planning guns of twelve to fourteen feet in
diameter. They will be fired with a TNT cartridge, and will
hurl a four- or five-foot ring one mile at a speed of eight hun-
dred to one thousand miles per hour. This ring will strike an
object with devastating power, and probably could knock
a bomber out of control. Dr. Thomas believes much bigger
guns can be built, so long as a method can be devised to strike
the diaphragm with sufficient force.
Before the war is over, Nazi planes may be assailed by man-
made tornadoes. In peacetime the vortex gun could, accord-
ing to Dr. Thomas, be used to rid an industrial area of smoke.
He suggests that huge vortex guns might be installed below
or above the roof to trap all the smoke from a plant. Auto-
matic hammers would strike the drums at regular intervals,
272 Miracles Ahead!
and blow huge smoke rings skyward at several hundred miles
an hour. Industrial cities would lose their unsightly and dis-
agreeable blanket of smoke and soot; cleaning and painting
bills would be cut sharply, and living conditions would be
Fantastic? Yes? Impossible? Impossible is a strong word to
use. Perhaps all these predictions will not come true. Perhaps
all these will come true, and a score of others. We have not
rounded up all of them.
Only the future will tell whether our prophets are right.
But, at any rate, they may join a company of distinguished
forecasters of "things to come":
Seven hundred years ago Roger Bacon predicted a dozen
of the commonplaces of today which were fantastic impos-
sibilities then. In fact, they were so fantastic, and Bacon knew
so well the tenor of his times, that he saved his neck by put-
ting his predictions in a cipher. But recently, when the pre-
dictions were deciphered, we found he had envisioned the
microscope, the telescope, explosives, and incandescent lights.
In 1887 Edward Bellamy, social philosopher, predicted the
radio when he described that a person "merely touched one
or two screws, and at once the room was filled with music."
And Eratosthenes of Gyrene, eighteen hundred years before
the voyage of Columbus, predicted men should someday sail
beyond "the Gates of Hercules" and find the world was
Acetic acid, 158, 163
Acids, acetic, 158; amino, 170, 254;
carbolic, 160; hydrochloric, 177;
naphthoxyacetic, 212; nitric, 163;
salicylic, 159; sulphuric, 162, 207
Acrylate resins, 164; Lucite, 35, 36,
164; methyl methacrylate, 150,
Adam, Flight Lieutenant, of Royal
Air Force, 84
"Age of Air," 76, 79; health problems
Agriculture, 157; chemurgy, 199-203,
204-210, 215; electricity on farm,
267; farm buildings, 213-214; "farm
problem," 199-200; greenhouse
farms, 267-268; hydroponics (soil-
less agriculture), 211-212; jeep on
farm, 51-52, 60, 139, 214; long-term
prediction of weather, 213; ma-
chinery, 213; TV A programs, 210;
Agriculture, Department of, 210;
chemurgy, 109-203, 204, 210, 215;
Bureau of Home Economics, 216;
Bureau of Plant Industry, 212; Re-
gional Research Laboratories, 199,
Air conditioning, 30-31; aided by
cheap electricity, 266; automobile,
42, 44; busses, 1 08; cities, 266; make
civilization move southward, 266-
267; railroad cars, 103
Airlines, 7, 97-98, 101, 113, 114; and
first class mail, 6, 86, 98; and pas-
senger and freight revenue, 85-86;
Air Transport Command and
Naval Air Transport Service, 87-
88; Eastern Airlines, 86; flexibility
of service, 78; glider "trains," oo-
92; Pan American, 76; Pennsylva-
nia-Central, 80; seadrome route, 80-
81; speed versus cost, 78-79;
United Airlines, 77; Western Air
Airlines, international, 98-100; CAB,
99; Pan American, 98; right of "in-
nocent passage," 99; Trippe, Juan,
favors international competition,
Airplane, cargo and passenger, 9, 78,
80-90, 114, 170, 222; ambulance
plane, 234; Consolidated Vultee
airliner, 79; deicing equipment, 81-
82; engines, 86; Kaiser-Hughes
HKi, 90; loading techniques for
cargo, 88-89; pressurized cabins,
84-85; speed versus cost, 78-79;
Stratoliner, 81-82, 84; super-clip-
Airplane, light planes, 12, 60-6 1, 98,
170; Aerocar, 71-72; Aeronca, 60;
Cessna, 60; converted into car, 70,
71; Er "coupe, 74; "grasshopper,"
60-61; how to fly, 72-74; hydro-
matic propeller, 70, 83; landing
gears, 71, 74; Piper Cub, 60; safe
landings at night, 74-75, 141-142;
simplified flying, 74-^75; Skyfarer,
74; two-speed propeller, 70; wing
Air Transport Command, U. S.
Army, 87-88, 98
Airways, Federal, System, 95-97;
Alaskan Airways System, 96; Civil
Aeronautics Administration, 95
Alaska, in "Age of Air," 80, 87; Air-
ways System, 96
Alchemists, 262; transmutation of
Alcohol, from grain, 153-154; from
petroleum, 153, 158
Alkyd resins, 164
Allegheny General Hospital, 244
Alloys, steel, 48, 178, 197; chrome
steel, 179; manganese steel, 178;
molybdenum steel, 179; nickel steel,
179; stainless steel, 179; tungsten
steel, 179; vanadium steel, 179
Altimeter, air pressure, 94; absolute
altimeter, 94-95, 142
Aluminum, 48, 49, 107, 158, 166, 174,
175, 197; alloys, 175; Hall process,
174; in body, 219
Aluminum citrate, 267
Ambulance, plane, 234; train, 235
American Institute of Architects, 23
American Institute of Public Opin-
ion, survey of colds, 252
American Bantam Car Company, 51
American Glass Review, 192-193
American Iron and Steel Institute,
American Rocket Society, 93
Amino acid, 170, 249-250, 254
Ammonia, high-pressure synthesis of,
157, 161, 210
A.M. ("amplitude modulation") ra-
dio, 143, 147
Anesthesia, regional, 256
Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 227
Aniline, 160; dyes, 159
Annealing, 193, 195
Antiaircraft guns, controlled by Ra-
Antibodies, 222; proteins, 202, 221
Apartments, 23; prefabricated units,
Appliances (See Household)
Aralac, 170, 202
Architectural Forum, on acoustics,
Arctic Ocean, in "Age of Air," 79
Armstrong, Edward R., 80
Army Air Corps, United States, 69,
84, 98; super-bomber, 85
Army Medical Corps, United States,
167; experiments with penicillin,
2 43-244; hospitals, 228, 230-232, 234,
235; rehabilitation of wounded,
237; sulfathiazole prophylaxis, 241-
242; training of doctors, 236
Army Signal Corps, United States,
1 20, 140, 167
Army, United States, 105-106, 167;
"health bomb," 242; recovery of
Arnold, General H. H., 85
Aromatic hydrocarbons, 155
Arsenic drugs, mapharsen, 241; sal-
varsan ("606"), 238
Association of American Railroads,
Car Service Division, 106
Atmospheric pressure, 82-84, 94
Atom, radioactive, 257; atomic en-
ergy, 261-262; "made to order,"
263-264; smashing, cyclotron, 262-
Autogiro, 60; compared to helicop-
Autoejector, for revival of dead ani-
Automobile, 6, 42-59, 101; and jeep,
51-52; cost of postwar cars, 46-
47; engine, 44, 46; high-octane gas-
oline, 54-55; light metals, 53-54;
plastics and plywood, 43, 52-53, 54;
safety on highways, 43, 56-57; styl-
ists versus engineers, 45-46; visibil-
ity increased for driver, 43
Automobile industry, 15, 26, 45-46,
97; competition with aviation in-
dustry, 58-59; problem of tools and
dies, 58; postwar dilemma, 57
Automotive Engineers, Society of,
Aviation industry, 97; Boeing Strato-
liner, Flying Fortress, 84-85; Con-
solidated Vultee, 79; Grumman
Aircraft Corporation, 90; Kaiser-
Hughes H-Ki, oo ; influence on
automobile design, 44; on furniture
designs, 35; light planes, 60; Mars
flying boat, 77; postwar prospects,
97-98; use of plastics, plywood, 53,
1 66, 191; plasticized paper, 187
Axes, vertical, longitudinal, lateral of
Babb, Charles H., 89
Bacon, Roger, 272
Baird Company, 134
Baldwin, Hanson W., 121
Banting, Sir Frederick, 85
"Bathtub butyl," 155
"Battle of Britain," 85
Battleship, 173; plastics in, 150; radio
equipment, 140; use of Radar, 121
Beechnut Packing Company, 223
Beefsteak, synthetic, 227
Bel Geddes, Norman, 15
Bellamy, Edward, 272
Bellevue Hospital, Cancer Division
Bell Telephone Laboratories, 162-163
Belmont Iron Works, 81
Benjamin, Dr. Harry, 258-259
Bergius, Professor Friederich, 189-
Beryllium, 181-182; copper alloy, 48,
182; nickel alloy, 49, 182; safety
tools, 182; work on aluminum and
magnesium alloys, 49, 182
Better Homes and Gardens, 269
Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Co., Inc.,
Biggers, John D., 197
Biotin, 250; avidin, 251; cancer re-
Blauvelt, Hiram, 259
Bliven, Bruce, 263
Bloeth, William, no
Blood, cells, 230; disease treated with
radioactive phosphorus, 263; red
cells used on wounds, infections,
Blood, clotting of, 236; M rays
"broadcast" by, 258
Blood, donor, 230-231, 253-254
Blood and Plasma Exchange Bank,
Blood, plasma, 87, 227, 228, 230, 231;
Blood and Plasma Exchange Bank,
253-254; preparation of, 230; sub-
stitute for, 254
Blood, types, 230
Boeing Aircraft Company, 84-85
Boeing 6-17 Flying Fortress, 43, 84-
85, 141, 150, 172
Boiling point, 84
Borsook, Henry, 218
Bothezat, George de, 67-68
Brain, surgery, 257
Brass (copper, zinc), 180
Bread, enriched, 217
British Broadcasting Company, 134
British Journal of Experimental Path-
British Overseas Airways, 98
Broadcasting, sound and television,
136-137; "band," 146-147
"Broken stowage," in cargo-ship load-
Bronze (copper, zinc, tin), 180
Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, 190
Browning, Robert, "Andrea del
Budd, Edward G., 103, 108
Building and Loan Associations, 27-
Building codes, 27
Buna N type, synthetic rubber, 154
Buna S, synthetic rubber, 152, 153-
Bureau of the Census, 135
Bureau of Mines, 183-184
Bushnell General Hospital, 243
Business, opportunities in postwar
period, 8, 10, n, 98
Busses, 101-102; NRPB report on,
1 08; postwar designs, 108
Butadiene, 153, 161, 162; and furfural,
Butyl, synthetic rubber, 155
Butylene gas, 212
2 7 6
Caff elite, plastics, 168
Calcium, radioactive, 263
California, University of, Medical
Camm, F. W., Television Manual,
Campbell, Major General Levin H.,
Camphor, synthetic, 168, 209
Campini, Signer, 93
Cancer, research with biotin, 251-252
Cannon, Dr. Paul R., 221
Cans, edible, 268-269
Caproni Airplane Company, 93
Caravan, C-j6, 89
Carbon, 158; compounds of, 158-159,
164; in Foamglas, 195; in steel mak-
Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 231
Carver, Dr. George Washington,
Casein, 202, 254
Castor beans, 203
Cells, 158, 257; cancer, 251-252; M
Cellulose, 158; 189; from castor beans,
203; from corn, 206; from cotton
linters, 204-205; wood, 208
Cellulose acetate, 163; Tenite, 165
Cellulose nitrate, 163; celluloid, 163
Celotex Corporation, 14
Chemical industry, 149, 166-167; ^ds
farmer, 268; indispensable, 171; in
two wars, 167-168
Chemistry, 149-171; chemurgy, 190-
203, 204-210, 215; coal-tar by-prod-
ucts, 159-162; petroleum by-prod-
ucts, 162; plastics, 4, 5, 35-36, 43-
44, 52-53, 103, 107, 108, 124, 149-
150, 157, 162-167, 168; recovery of
low-grade ores, 183-184; synthetic
rubber, 151-156; war job of, 166-
Chemurgy, 199-203, 204-210, 215;
castor beans, 203; cotton linters,
204-205; corn, 206; flax, 204; pea-
nuts, 201; sweet potatoes, 200-201
Chicago, University of, 221
Childbed fever, 238
Chlorine, 164, 175, 177
Christian Science Monitor, 192, 200,
Chromium, 48, 179
Chrysler Corporation, 14, 46
Cigarette paper, from flax straw,
Civil Aeronautics Administration, 95-
CAB (Civil Aeronautics Board), 6,
78, 92, 99
Civilian Defense, Office of, 167
Clay, 158, 174, 175
Closets, mass-produced, 35
Clothes, 168-170; from soy bean, 203;
from wood, 190
Coal, bituminous, 159; by-products
of, 159-162; chemicals, 160-161;
drugs, 159-160; dyes, 159; tar, 153,
Coaxial cable, for television, 133, 147
Coffee, 1 68
Coghill, Dr. R. D., 243
Coit, Elisabeth, 23, 36
Coke, 1 60; coal, bituminous, 159
Colds, 252, 253
Colebrook, Dr. Leonard, 238
Cooking, utensils, 39; electronic,
Cooling, radiant, 34
Collectivism and individualism, 9
Combustion, 48, 50, 93
Commutation service, by airplane, 9;
by helicopter, 6, 7, 67
Conservation, of forests, 192
Consolidated Vultee Corporation, 79;
Liberator 6-24, 85
Copper, 1 80; beryllium-copper, 48,
Corn, cobs and stalks, 206; waxy, 202
Corning Glass Works, 192, 194, 195,
Cotton, 189, 200-201, 205-206; cellu-
lose from, 205; leather, 205; roads,
206; tire carcasses, 206
"Cracking" of petroleum, for high-
octane gasoline, 55
Current, alternating and direct, 117-
acid, 159; sulfanilamide and deriva-
tives, 1 60; sulphonal, 160, 229, 230,
231, 232; veronal, 160
Dubos, Dr. Rene J., 245
Duffus, R. L., 175
Du Pont de Nemours, E. L, 45, 154,
Dyes, coal-tar, 159; alizarin, 159;
mauve, 159; synthesis of indigo,
Tyrian purple, 159; from petro-
Dahlberg, Bror, 14
Davis, Dr. Harvey N., 187
Davies, W. W., 77-78
De Forest, Lee, 132
De Haviland, Mosquito bomber, 53,
Dehydrated foods, 222-225
Dehydrator, home equipment, 224-
Deserts, 212; use of photovoltaic cells
Detonation, "knock" in engines, 54
Deville, Sainte-Claire, 174
Diesel, Dr. Rudolph, 49
Diesel, engine, 49-51, 50-51, 102-103;
in cargo and warships, 111-112
Diet, 216; education, 217; foods, 168,
216-227; minerals, 218, 210-220;
vitamins, 218, 219-220
Dietz, David, 45, 199-200, 238
Domagk, Dr. Gerhard, 238
Donald McKay, motor ship, 1 1 1
Douglas transports, 89, 92
Dow Chemical Company, 154, 164,
Dow, Willard, 177, 269
Drugs, coal-tar, 159; aspirin, 160; ata-
brin, 160; phenacetin, 160; salicylic
Ear, plastic reconstruction of r by
Drs. Valdes and Schulhof, 255
Eastern Airlines, 86
"Edison effect," 116
Edison, Thomas A., 116, 132
Ehrlich, Dr. Paul, 238
Electricity, 174-175, 261-262; on
farm, 267; generated by thermo-
couples, 265; photovoltaic cell, 264;
transmission of high voltage direct
current, 118; transmitted by radio,
265-266; Steinmetz' prediction on
cheap electricity, 266
Electronics, 5, 115-151; cooking by,
270; electrosurgical apparatus, 257;
radio, 34, 132-133; television, 132,
Electron, 116; as catalyst, 264; "chem-
otronics," 264; current, 261-262;
gun, 145-146; microscope, 131, 252,
Electron tubes, 117; diode, 117; col-
orimeter, 130; iconoscope, 145-146;
photoelectric tube, 125-128; spec-
trophotometer, 1 26-1 27 ; strobo-
scope, 129-130; thyratron, 117-118
Elements, used by chemist, 158
Engine, automobile, air-cooled, 47;
Diesel, 49-51; efficiency of, 50;
high-compression, 48; high-octane
gasoline, 54-55; "pancake" style,
44; rear-engine installation, 44;
Engine, aviation, 86; "flat-opposed,"
70; light plane, 60, 70; Wright Cy-
clone, 77; rocket motor, 93-94
Engineering and Research Corpora-
Eratosthenes of Gyrene, 272
Erosion, water and wind, 200, 210;
after first World War, 211
Ethyl cellulose, 166
Ethylene dicholoride, 162
Ethylene glycol, 162
Europe, protein deficiency in, 221-
Evans, Colonel Edward S., 79-80,
Evans Products Company, 79
Expansion, coefficient of, 194
Explosives, 159; cotton linters for,
204, 205; dynamite, 204; nitrogen
for, 167-168; predicted by Roger
Bacon, 272; TNT, 160, 161, 162
Eyestrain, and better lighting, 29-30
Factory-residential towns, 214
Farbenindustrie, I.G., 238, 247
"Farm problem," 199-200
Fatigue, measured by M rays, 258
Federal Government, compromise
building code, 27
Fellows, Julian R., 3 1
Fertilizer, 157, 160, 161, 167, 210
Flax, straw, 203
Fleming, Dr. Alexander, 242
Fleming, Professor J. A., 116, 132
Fleming valve, 116
Florey, Dr. H. W, 243
Fluorescent lighting, 29-30, 40, 103,
Fluorine, prevents tooth decay, 269;
in production of cryolite, 174
Flying boats, 76-77, 88, 90, 98
Flying, simplified, 72, 74; at night,
Food, 1 68, 216-227; bread, enriched,
217; dehydrated, 222-225; diet, 216,
218, 219-220; "mechanical cow,"
226-227; peanuts, 201; soy beans,
203; storage of, 195; sweet pota-
toes, 200-201; uneducated buying
of, 218; utility companies, 269;
waste of, 217, 219
Food Distribution Administration,
"Food for Freedom,'* 211
Forbes magazine, 183
Ford Motor Company, 52, 53, 168
Formaldehyde, 162, 163
Fowler, Harlan D., 89-90
Fractures, "closed treatment" for,
P.M. (frequency modulation) radio,
Fortune magazine, 37
Fort Worth Press, 52
Froesch, Charles, 86
"Froth flotation," 184
Fuller, R. Buckminster, 16-17
Furnace, smokeless, 31-32; oilburn-
Furniture, 34-35, 165
Gahagan, Andrew J., 182
Galdston, Dr. lago, Behind the Sulfa
Drugs, 237, 238, 242
Gas gangrene, 240-241
Gasoline, high-octane, 42, 54-55, 109;
"triptane," 55; hydrocarbons, 162,
Gelmo, P., 238
General Aircraft Corporation, 74
General Electric Company, 82
General Electric Research Laborato-
ries, 118, 177, 186
General Hospital of Catalonia, 233
General Motors Corporation, 14, 50
General Tire & Rubber Co., 151-152
Gerard, Ralph W., 255, 257
Gericke, Professor W. F., 211-212
Germany, chemical leadership lost to
U. S., 168; wood chemistry pro-
gram, 1 88
Gilbert, Jr., Cass, 18, 19
Glass, 5, 40, 57, 185, 195, 197, 198;
Fiberglas, 195-196; Foamglas, 195;
for tire cord, 43; optical, 196, 197;
production research, 196; Pyrex,
194; how flame-proof glass is made,
194; Vycor, 194
Glesinger, Egon, Nazism in the
Glider, "trains" for freight and pas-
sengers, 5, 90-92, 98, 1 08; first flight
across Atlantic, 92
Goddard, Dr. R. H., 93
Goering, Hermann, 188-189
Gold, 180-181; photovoltaic cell, 264
Gonorrhea, 241; prophylaxis, 241-
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company,
Graf Spee, 1 1 1
Granite (feldspar), 158
"Grasshoppers," liaison planes, 60-6 1
Gravity, center of, 44
Great American Desert, 212
"Great Circle" routes, 70-80
Great Lakes, 106
Great Salt Lake, 176
Gregory, Colonel H. F., 65
Grid, 118-119, 132
Gropius, Dr. Walter, 214
Grumman Aircraft Corporation, 90
Guild, Lurelle, 108
Gun metal (copper, tin), 180
Gunnison Housing Corporation, 191
Haldane, J. B. S., 255
Hall, Charles Martin, 174
Hallett, Robert M., 192
Halstead, William S., 56
Hamby, William, 38-41
Harrington, Dr. H. H M 177
Heating, radiant, 20, 33-34
Heilman, Dr. Dorothy, 245
Heiser, Dr. Victor G., 218
Helicopter, 2, 12, 60-67; amphibian,
63; Convertaplane, 60-70; de Both-
ezat model of, 67-68; for air mail
and express, 6, 66; for commuters,
6, 7, 66; Helicab, 68-69; now to fly
it, 61-63; postwar possibilities, 66-
67; traffic control by, 56; used
against submarines, 65
Hercules Powder Company, 150
Herrell, Dr. Wallace E., 245
Herrick, Gerald P., 60-70
Herty, Dr. Charles E., 208
High altitudes, protecting pilot at,
Highways, planned for safety, 56
Heroult, Paul L. T., 174
Hitler, Adolf, 188-189
Hogben, Lancelot, Science for the
Citizen, 161-162, 211
Holden, Arthur C., 26-27
Holt, Rackham, 200-^01
Home, average, 29
Home Economics, Bureau of, 216
Hospital, 228; battalion, 230; base,
234; collecting station, 232; corps-
man, 229; field, 232; mobile equip-
ment, 231-232, 235; rehabilitation
of wounded in, 237; ship, 236
Household, appliances and furnish-
ings, 29-41, 175, 178; air condition-
ing, 30-31; bathrooms, 36-37; clos-
ets, 35; cooling, radiant, 34; fur-
nace, smokeless, 31-32; furniture,
built-in, 34, new designs, 35; glass,
195, 197, 198; heating, radiant, 33-
34; kitchen, 38; "kitchenless house,"
38-41; lighting, 29-30; Precipitron,
30-31; soundproofing, and better
acoustics, 13, 32, 33
Houses, prefabricated, 6, 12-22, 170;
building codes, 27; construction of,
12, 13; for farms, 214; foundation
of, 12, 17; land renting for, 17, 26;
standardization, 15, 26; use of glass
in construction of, 195, 197, 198;
use of light metals, plastics, ply-
wood, 28, 165, 175, 178; used for
war workers, 13; utility unit, 12
Hunt, James F., 264
Huse, William, 218
Hycar Chemical Company, 154
Hydrocarbons, 55, 93; aromatic, 155,
162; liquid, 171
Hydroelectric plants, 174-175
Hydrogen, 158, 164; in cyclotron,
Hydroponics (soilless agriculture),
Illinois, University of, 31
Illustrated London News, The, 138
Incandescent light, 30, 116, 179, 181;
predicted by Roger Bacon, 272
India, diet of people, 218
Indigo, natural, 156; synthesis of, 159
Industry, 2-11; chemistry in, 171;
electronics in, 117-119, 122-131;
transmission of power by radio,
Inland waterways, 101, 106
"Innocent passage," right of, 99
Inoculation, 228-229, 249, 259
Insecticides, 204, 259; "health bomb"
to fight mosquitoes, 247
Iodine, radioactive, 263
Ionosphere, 120, 133
Iowa State College, 200
Iowa, U.S.S., in
Iron, 178, 1 80, 181; in diet, 219-220;
radioactive, 263; photovoltaic cell,
Japan, 124, 168
Jeep, 51-52, 60, 139, 214, 232
Jeffers, William M., 151
Johns Hopkins Hospital, 239
Joslin, Theodore, 3, 4
Journal, American Medical Associa-
tion, 241-242, 244
Kaempffert, Waldemar, 253, 266, 268
Kaiser, Henry, 16, 90, 102-103, 109
Kaiser-Hughes H-Ki Flying Boat, 90
Kaplan, Professor Ira I., 251-252
Keck, George Fred, 19, 20-21
Keefer, Dr. Chester S., 246
Kerr, Dr. William J., 252
Kettering, Charles F., 50-51, 266
"Kitchenless house," 38-41
Kiev, Russia, 63
Kiev, University, 63
Knight, Dr. Henry G., 208-209
"Knock" (detonation), in engines, 54
Kochalaty, Dr. Walter, 245
Koch, Dr. Robert, 249
Koegel, Professor Fritz, 250
Laboratories, Regional Research, 199,
Laboratory, bacteriological, 235; den-
tal, 235; optical, 235
La Guardia Field, 66, 90
Lamp, incandescent, 30, 116, 179, 181;
aluminum citrate light, 267; bac-
teria destroyed by, 5, 30, 131; con-
trolled by phototube, 30, 127; fluo-
rescent, 29-30, 40, 103, 267
Land, Admiral Emory S., 112-113
Landing gear, 71, 74
Land, renting of, 17, 26
Landing strips, for planes, 56; "fly-
Langewiesche, Wolfgang, 86, 97
"Laundering" the air, with Precipi-
Lederle Laboratories, 243
Leith, Dr. C. K., 183
Lend-Lease, 105, 106, 217, 235
Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company,
Life Insurance Companies, 27-28
Life, expectancy, 258; gerontother-
Liners, ocean, 114
Linseed oil, 204
Lippman, William A., Jr., 88
Lissitzyn, Oliver J., International Air
Transport and National Policy, 100
Little, Arthur D., Inc., Industrial Bul-
letin, 206, 244-245
Loading techniques, for airplanes, 88-
89; for cargo ships, no-iii
"Locomotive" plane, 5, 90-91, 98
Loening, Grover C., 90-91
Lohr, Lenox R., Television Broad-
Long, Dr. Perrin, 239
Lovette, Captain Leland P., 65
Lucite, 35-36, 164, 256
Mack Truck Company, 107
Magee, Major General James C., 243
"Magic bullets," 238, 242
Magnesium, 48, 49, 107, 177-178;
"mined" from ocean, 176-177
Mail, first class, to go by air, 6, 86,
Malaria, 247, 248; problem in "Age of
Manchester, Harland, 183
Manganese, 48, 178
Mantell, C. L., Sparks from the Elec-
Maps, mercator-type, 79
Maritime Commission, United States,
65, in, 112
Marks, Robert W., 183
Martin, Glenn L., 76-77, 97-98
Massachusetts Memorial Hospital,
Mayo Clinic, 245
McMillen, Wheeler, 200
"Mechanical cow," 226-227
Medical Society of the County of
New York, 253
Medical World, The, 258-259
Medicine, wartime, 228-237; atabrin,
247; "closed treatment" for frac-
tures, 232-234; gramicidin, 245;
penatin, 245; penicillin, 242-245;
plasma, 227, 228, 230, 231, 253; sulfa
drugs, 229, 230, 231, 232, 237-242;
surgery, 232, 233, 234, 236, 255, 257
Melamine resins, 167
Meningitis, 241; haemophilus influ-
enzae, 241; meningococcus, 241;
Merchant Marine Act of 1936, 109,
Merchant Marine, United States, 100,
Merck & Co., 243
Mergenthaler Linotype Company,
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and
Beane, 171, 267
Metals, lightweight, 6, 42, 48, 103, 170,
172-178 (See Aluminum, Magne-
Metallurgy, 49, 170, 170-180, 182, 184;
Methyl methacrylate, 150, 164, 256
Meyer, Dr. A. J., 243
Microscope, 263; predicted by Roger
Midgley, Dr. Thomas, Jr., 55
Miles,}. C, 31
Milk, 202, 226; Aralac, 170, 202;
casein, 202; "mechanical cow," 226-
Minerals, in diet, 218, 210-220
Minneapolis-Honeywell Co., 196
"Mitogenetic rays" (M rays), dis-
covered by Russian Dr. Gurwich,
Molybdenum, 48, 179
Monel metal (copper, nickel, iron),
Monro, C. Bedell, 80-8 1
Monroy, Johann Albrecht von, 188-
Monsanto Chemical Company, 165
Moss, Dr. Sanford B., 82
Motion picture industry, 33, 146
Mudd, Major Richard D., 231
Naphthoxyacetic acid, 212
Nash-Kelvinator Corporation, 14
National Association of Manufactur-
ers, 206, 214-215
N.E. (National Emergency) steels,
National Farm Chemurgic Council,
Naval Research Laboratory, 120
National Resources Planning Board
(NRPB), 27, 106, 108, 215
Naval Air Transport Service, 88, 98
Naval stores industry in South, 208-
Navy, United States, 88, 98, in, 197;
battleships, 173, 121, 140, 150;
equipment, 235; hospital ships, 236;
recovery of wounded, 228; rehabil-
itation of wounded, 237; penicillin,
experiments with, 244; sulfathiazole
Nelson, Paul, 21, 22
Neoprene, 154, 161, 162, 165
Nerve, operations, 256
New Jersey Agriculture Experiment
New Republic, 263
News, television broadcasting of, 138
New York City, traffic congestion,
New York Herald Tribune, 176, 259
New York Times, 85, 121, 156-157,
253, 255, 266
New York Times Magazine, 175
New York University, College of
New York World-Telegram, 45, 1 10,
Nickel, 179, 1 80
Nitrogen, 167, 168; and biotin, 250;
changed to hydrogen by "bom-
North African campaign, recovery
of wounded in, 228
North American P-52 Mustang, 172
Northern spruce, 208
North Pole, "crossroads of com-
Nylon, 1 60, 169, 256
Oat hulls, 206; furfural, 206-207
Oberlin College, 174
Ocean, 158; storehouse of minerals,
Ogburn, William F., 266-267
Old age, diseases of, 258-259; geron-
O'Neill, Jonn J., 176
Onion root "broadcasts," 257-258
Ontario Paper Company, 207
Optical glass, 196
Ores, low-grade, 183
Orr, Dr. Winnett, 232-233
Osteomyelitis, 233; treated by peni-
Othmer, Dr. Donald F., 190
Ott, Dr. Emil, 150-151
Oxford University, 243
Packard Motor Co., 44
Pan American Airways, 76, 98
Paper, 5, 198; aqualized, 186-187;
chemical vapor treatment, 186;
plasticized, 187; war jobs, 185-186
Parking, of cars, 56
Pasteur, Louis, 249
Patterson, W. A., 101
Peanuts, products from, 201
Penicillin, 242; effective against
staphylococcus, 243; for venereal
disease, 244; penatin, 245; penicil-
lium notatum, 242; production
Penicillium notatum, 242, 245; mold
used directly on infections, 244
Penney, Gaylord W., 30-31
Pennsylvania-Central Airlines, 80
Pennsylvania, University of, 245
Perkin, William, 159
Petroleum, 162; chemicals from, 162,
164, 165; high-octane gasoline, 162;
hydrocarbons, 55, 93, 162, 171
Pfizer, Charles, & Co., 243
Phenol (carbolic acid), 160
Phenolic resins, 163, 166; bakelite,
Phillips Petroleum Company, 154
Phosphorus, radioactive, 263
Photoelectric tube, 125-128
Photographic film, 168; from corn
cobs, stalks, 206
Photography, use of photoelectric
tube in, 127
Pipe lines, 101
Piper Aircraft Company, 70
Piper Cub, 60
Piper, W. T., 70-71, 72
Pitcairn-Larsen Autogiro Company,
Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, 194-
Plank Panel house, 18-19
Plant Industry, Bureau of, 212
Plants, war, 29; electron tubes speed
production in, 125-130
Plastics, 4, 5, 35-36, 43-44, 52-53, 103,
107, 108, 124; future of, 157; mole-
cules of, 162-163; thermoplastic,
163; thermosetting, 163-164
Plywood, 53, 107, 108, 190-191; plas-
tic-bonded, 170, 190, 191, 208; R. F.
heating of, 124
Pneumonia, 239, 240
Polymer, polymerization, 152
Popular Science, 270
Potatoes, sweet, products from, 200-
Potatoes, white, produce starch for
industrial use, 202
Powder metallurgy, 182-183; self -oil-
ing bearings, 183; "sintering," 182
Prefabrication, in housing, 6, 12, 22;
in shipbuilding, 100-110
Pressurized cabin, for high-altitude
Pressure suit, for high-altitude flight,
Prontosil (see Sulf anilamide) , 238
Prophylaxis, sulfathiazole, 241-242
Propeller, hydromatic, 70, 83; pro-
duction of speeded by R.F. heat-
Protein, 202, 221; deficiency, 221-222;
in wool, 238; soy beans, 202
Public Affairs Committee, 18
Public Health, 248-249; in "Age of
Air," 259; Service, 259
Public Service Company of Chicago,
Pullman Car & Manufacturing Cor-
poration, 1 02
Pushee, H. B., 151-152
Quaker Oats Company, 206
Queen Charlotte's Hospital, 238
Queen Mary, 1 14
Quinine, substitute, 246; atabrin, 247
Radar (Radio Detecting and Rang-
ing), 142; aid to aviation, 95; as
aid to motorist, 57; at Pearl Har-
bor, 120; in "Battle of Britain," 119;
operation of, 120-121; postwar uses,
121-122; tantalum used in, 181
Radiator, automobile, 46
Radiator, home, 33
Radio, 34, 132-133* H 2 - I 44> H 8 ; ab-
solute altimeter, 94-95; beams to
guide motorists, 57; for liaison
planes, 61; range and marker sta-
tions, 95; safety in blind-landings,
141-142; Signal Corps equipment,
139; superradio stations of CAA,
96; traffic control, 56
Radio City Music Hall, 119
R.C.A. Radio-Electric Laboratories,
Radiodynamic control, of ships, 268
Radio frequency (R.F.) heating, 122-
Radio industry, in wartime, 139-142
Radium, 257, 263
Railroads, 7, 8, 101-106; and cheap
electricity, 268; "Battle of Trans-
portation," 104-106; Diesel engines,
103; history of, 101; improved
locomotives, 103; lightweight cars,
102-103; Railplane, 102; turbines,
Rations, U. S. Army, 223-224, 226-
Raw materials, crisis in, 3, 4
Rayon, 43, 205
Reduction gears, in airplane engine,
Refinery, 162; gases, 162
Refrigerator, 37-38; thermocouple,
Remmelkamp, Dr. Charles H., 246
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, 173
Research and Planning Associates, 24
Richards, Dr. A. N., 244
Rich, Leo H., 57
Robinson, Dr. George H., 244
Robinson, Admiral S. M., 173
Robsjohn-Gibbings, T. H., 34-35
Rockefeller Institute for Medical Re-
Rocket power (jet propulsion), 93;
operation of rocket motor, 93
Roebling, John A., Company, 81
Rohde, Gilbert, 34
Roosevelt, Jr., Franklin D., 239
Rubber, natural, 151, 164; compared
with synthetic, 152, 154, 155, 165;
future of, 156-157; plantations, 151,
Rubber, synthetic, 151-156; Buna S,
152-154; Buna N, 154; Butyl, 155;
furfural as solvent, 207; Neoprene,
154; postwar prospects of, 156;
Thiokols, A, B, and FA, 155; Thio-
kol RD, 154; Uskol, 154
Rutgers University, 246
Rutherford, Sir Ernest, 262
Salesmen, in postwar period, 8, 98
Salicylic acid, 159
Sanders, Walter B., 24-26
Sarnoff, David, 94
Savings banks, 26-28
Scarab car, 47
Schmidt camera, 136
Science Digest, 117
Scientific Research and Develop-
ment, Office of, 243
Scripps-Howard newspapers, 199, 238
Seadromes, 80-8 1
Selenium, 181; photovoltaic cell, 264
Servicemen, in postwar period, 8, 98
Seys, Squadron Leader R. G. t of
Royal Air Force, 92
Shaver, Dr. W. W., 194
Shipping, postwar policy of U. S.,
112; tramp shipping, 112
Ships, cargo, 100-111; liners, 114; ra-
diodynamic control of, 268
Shock, 230; plasma transfusions, 231
Shoe soles, of cotton, 205
Siemens Halske, 182
Sikorsky, Igor I., 7, 61-63, 64-65, 66-
Silicon, 158, 181, 194
Sinus infections, treated with grami-
Small, Captain Lisle F., 1 1 1
Smith, Geddes, Plague on Us, 248-249
Smith, J. Kent, 182
Smith, M. W., 103-104
Smoke, cleared from air by vortex
Socony- Vacuum Oil Company, 54
Sodium, 152, 174
Sodium sulphate, 193
Soil conservation, 210
Solomon Islands campaign, recovery
of wounded in, 228, 236
Soundproofing, 13, 32
Sound waves, 143
Southern Friction Materials Com-
Southern pine, 208
Soviet Institute of Experimental Biol-
Soy beans, 168; products from, cloth-
ing, 203; cosmetics, 203; foods, 203;
house furnishings, 203; industrial
materials, medicines, 203; rich in
Spanish Civil War, 233
Spann, Colonel George F., 248
Spitfire, 85, 119
Squibb, E. R., & Sons, 243
Stall, in flying, 74
Standardization, importance of in
low-cost products, 26; in houses,
Standard of living of all must be
Standard Oil Company of New Jer-
sey, 154-155. 1*5
Stanton, C. I., 113-114
Staphylococcus, 240; penicillin effec-
tive against, 243
Steam engine, efficiency compared
with Diesel, 50; improved steam
Steam-power plant, efficiency of,
Steel, lightgauge, for automobile
bodies, 53-54; for trailers, 108; for
railroad cars, 103 (see Alloys)
Steinmetz, Dr. Charles P., 266
Stevens Institute of Technology, 187
Stine, Dr. Charles M. A., 45, 157, 261
Stokley, James, Science Remakes Our
World, 118-119, 134-136, 264
Stout, William, 47, 48, 68-69, 70, 71-
Stratoliner, Boeing, 81-82, 84, 85
Stratosphere, problems of flight in,
Streptococcus, 239, 240, 246
Styrene, 153, 161
Submarine, 111-112; hunted by heli-
copter, 65, Radar, 120
Subway, Sixth Avenue, New York
Sugar, from wood, 5, 180-190
Sulfadiazine, 229, 239-240
Sulfanilamide, 160, 229, 230, 231, 232,
237-240; derivatives, 239-240; how
they fight bacteria, 242; toxic re-
actions studied, 242
Sulfathiazole, 239; prophylaxis, 241-
Sullivan, Louis, 19
Sulphite liquor, produces alcohol,
Sulphuric acid, 162, 207
Sun, energy from 162, 264; harnessing
rays of, 264
Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Com-
pany, 80-8 1
Supercharger, for airplane engine, 82
Surgery, 232, 233, 234, 236; autoejec-
tor, 255; brain surgery, 257; cure
for deafness, 255; for hypertension,
256; nerve operations, 256; regional
anesthesia, 256; transplanting of or-
gans, 255; treating arthritis, 256;
use of heparin, dicoumarin, 256;
use of "radio knife," 257
Sutures, 196, 256
Swain, Squadron Leader, of Royal
Air Force, 84
Synthesis, in chemistry, 157, 159
Syphilis, treated with mapharsen, 241;
Tank, M-4, 45, 178
Tankers, oil, 105
Taylorcraf t, 60
Taylor, Dr. A. Hoyt, 120-121
Taylor, Dr. W. C., 192-193
Teague, Walter Dorwin, 15, 16, 37
"Teco" ring, 191
Teeth, decay checked by fluorine,
Telescope, 196; predicted by Roger
Television, 132, 133-148; cost of sets,
138; how it works, 144-147; net-
works, 135, 139; noctovision, 134;
problem of high-frequency waves,
Tennessee Eastman Corporation, 165
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA),
15, 175, 210
Tesla, Nikola, 268
Tetraethyl lead, 55
Textiles, synthetic, 9, 157; Aralac,
170; from soy beans, 168; from
wood, 189, 190; nylon, 160, 169;
rayon, 169; Velon, 169; vinylidene
chloride, 169; Vinyon, 169
Thermocouple, to generate electric-
ity, 265; for refrigerator, 265
Thermionic emission, 1 16
Thermosetting plastics, 163-164
Thiokol Corporation, 154
Thiokol RD, 154
Thiokols, A, B, FA, 155
Thomas, Dr. Phillips, 270
Thyroid gland, 263
Timber Engineering Company,
"Teco" ring, 191
Tin, 124, 180, 181, 197
Tires, automobile, 43, 152, 154
Tobin, R. B., 223
Toennis, Dr. B., 250
Toluol, from coal-tar, 160; from pe-
Toxic reactions, of sulfa drugs, 242;
none in penicillin, 243
Traffic congestion, cost of, 56
Tramp shipping, 112
Transfusions, blood, 230-231
Transmutation of matter, 262
Transportation, air versus land, 86,
101; air versus sea, 113-114; glider
"trains," 90-92; improvements in,
6, 7; revolutionizing of transport
to aid farmer, 214
Trees, bark of, for clothing, 5
Trinitrotoluene (TNT), 160
Trippe, Juan, 98-100
Trucks, 101-102; NRPB report on,
107; "Truck of Future," 108; war
Trueta, Jose, 233-234
Tryptophane, arnino acid, 170, 249
Tung oil, 204
Tungsten, 30, 116, 117, 179
Turbine, gas, 103; steam, 104
Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, 200
Typhoid fever, 249; vaccine, 249
Tyrian purple, 159
Ultrahigh frequency, 95-96; in Radar,
120; in television, 133-134, 146-
Underconsumption, and "farm prob-
lem," 199-200; during 19305, 8
Union Carbide and Carbon Corpora-
United Aircraft Corporation, Sikor-
sky Division of, 65
United Nations, 98, 100
United States Rubber Company, 154
United States Steel Company, 81
Urea formaldehyde, 163
Vacuum, perfect, 04
Vacuum tube, 116-117
V Day plans, reconversion, 57
Vanadium, 48, 179
Vanillin, 190, 208
Van Itallie, Philip, 225-226
Vickery, Rear Admiral Howard L.,
Vienna, University of, 238
Vinylidene chloride, 164
Vinyl resins, 164; polyvinyl butral,
Viruses, filterable, 252, 253, 257
Vitamins, 218-220; Bi, 223, 250, C, K,
229; biotin, 250; for old age, 259;
niacin, 250; riboflavin, 250
"Voo Doo," 92
Vortex gun, 270-271; as antiaircraft
weapon, 271; to rid cities of smoke,
Vortex motion, 271
Wagner, Dr. Martin, 214
Waksman, Dr. Selman A., 246
"Walkie-talkie," 139; postwar use on
Wallace, Dr. James E., 244
Walnut shells, 204
War, gains and losses from, i; two
world wars, 2, 3, 4
War Information, Office of, 97, 105-
106, 185, 228, 234-235, 236, 237
Warner, Edward, 78-79
War Production Board (WPB), Of-
fice of Production Research and
War Shipping Administration, no,
Washington, Booker T., 200
Water, distilled, 230
Water supply, 248-249
Watson-Watt, Sir Robert, 121
Waves, radio, 143; "carrier," 144
Waxy corn, 202
Weather, changes in, 252; prediction
Weaver, Don .,52
Welding, and electronics, 130, 162;
in shipbuilding, 109
Wendt, Gerald, 151
Western Air Lines, 88
Westinghouse Electric & Manufac-
turing Company, 166, 196, 270-271
Westinghouse Research Laboratories,
30, 1 66
Wetherby, John M., 149-150
Willys-Overland Motor Co., 57
Wing flaps, 74, 89
Wirth Steel Company, 81
Wohler, Friedrich, 164, 174
Wood, 157, 158, 198; American prog-
ress in wood chemistry, 190-192;
cellulose, 208; German program,
188-190; lignin, 208; "Teco" ring,
191; war jobs of, 185
Woodruff, Dr. H. Boyd, 246
Wounded, recovery of, 228
Wright Field, Ohio, 65
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 19
Wright, Russel and Mary, 36
X ray, 124-125, 130; diffraction cam-
era, 125; fluoroscopic screen, 231,
232; "liminograph," 130; mobile,
Yates, Raymond, 117; 2,100 Needed
Inventions, 265, 267
Yellow fever, 249
You magazine, 219
Young, Leo C., 120-121
Zeder, Fred M., 46, 47-48
Zinc, 1 80